R U OK? Day 2019

It is R U OK Day on 12 September.

R U OK?’s vision is a world where we’re all connected. Their mission is to inspire and empower everyone to meaningfully connect with people around them and support anyone struggling with life

Senior women who are great mates

R U OK goals are to: 

  • Boost our confidence to meaningfully connect and ask about life’s ups and downs
  • Nurture our sense of responsibility to regularly connect and support others
  • Strengthen our sense of belonging because we know people are there for us
  • Be relevant, strong and dynamic.

We understand R U OK is an everyday questions that embodies the care we feel for each other. And our awareness of connectedness.

Photo Credits

R U OK? (Business Chicks)

Mates (R U OK)

An everday example of R U OK?

I have been following the R U OK? Day for a number of years. One of my interests is in the everyday question of personal well being (link).

This week, the everyday was brought into sharp focus by a friend. He wrote an open letter to someone who was having some personal challenges.

I saw the open letter as a very public way of sharing the thin ice on which we all travel.

My friend wrote:


Just going to say a little bit to support you, maybe something you can get from it. I’ve struggled with anxiety and depression most of my adult life. I’ve not wanted to leave the house, I’ve felt I was going to lose control, I’ve felt everyone could tell I was “different”.

Well, as it turns out, I am different – and so is everyone else. But nobody else can tell that by looking at you.

Set yourself small goals, and if you do have panic attacks, accept that they are just part of what makes you, you. Think of all the times the bad stuff didn’t happen. But mostly, accept it is part of you.

I’ll have bad days, and if I need a day to compose myself, I take it.

Take time to accept what you are.

End of speech.

I thought this was a wonderful letter. It has a profound honesty and a clarity that have helped me think how we support each other … everyday.

Photo Credit

RUOK Mate?

Those left

The date 11 November has added poignancy in my family.

In addition to our family history in the First World War, it is the day thirty-six years ago that my brother, John, died.

John was a professional footballer at the time of his death. He was 26 years old.

His decision to take his own life has affected my actions ever since that day. It has connected me with the loss others feel on this day … and every day.

Since John’s death there have been many cases of professional sport people taking their own lives. These are just a very small part of the enormity of suicide deaths in society.

In recent years, I have been struck by the growing research into players’ well being and I have been following research in Germany. I thought Ronald Reng’s biography of Robert Enke (2011), A Life Too Short, was a very important contribution to this conversation. Robert died on 10 November 2009.

Ronald’s book was awarded the sports book of the year.  Rob Bagchi said of this award:

Two of the previous three winners of sports publishing’s oldest and richest prize, Marcus Trescothick’s Coming Back to Me and Brian Moore’s Beware of the Dog, were fearless accounts of the ravages that self-doubt and depression can wreak on elite sportsmen. Reng’s acutely observed book completes a trilogy of required reading not only for those who have been flippant and unsympathetic to the issue of mental health among well‑rewarded professionals in the past.

Ronald made a very significant point about Robert … “the friendships he struck had clear boundaries and no one, apart from his family, knew of the turmoil he suffered”.

In my brother’s case we had no indication whatsoever of any depression issues. Thirty-six years is a long time for retrospection, dealing with a sense of guilt and the bereftness of loss.

So 11 November is one of those days when those left reflect. John was 26 when he died. In my small town of Braidwood, New South Wales, we will be remembering 88 loved ones who left for the Great War from a rural community and did not return. They lie in foreign fields. Most of them were considerably younger than, John and Robert.  All 90 were profoundly loved.

Photo Credits

Pictures of John and Robert from Wikipedia.