September 13, 2018 is R U OKAY? Day

While R U OK? Day is held today, Thursday, September 13, it is also a reminder to everyone that any day you should ask, “Are you ok?” and support those struggling with life.

The initiative is about inspiring people to start these conversations every day of the year and, in support of this important initiative, Exercise and Sports Science Australia (ESSA) encouraged Australians to use physical activity and exercise as a way to reach out and reconnect.

“Socialising through the efforts of exercise offers a range of significant benefits to those living with a mental health condition,” ESSA ceo Anita Hobson-Powell said.

Research reveals one in five Australians experience a mental illness each year.

“Exercise itself is proven to be effective as a part of treatment for mental illnesses, but exercising with someone and starting those conversations of “Are you ok?” can help check in with someone’s mental health and keep them on track with treatment,” she said.

Accredited exercise physiologist Carly Ryan shares that by going for a casual walk around the block or to the park with the dog, or heading out of town for a hike, and starting a conversation and commenting on any changes you’ve noticed – you could help that family member, friend or workmate open up.

“If they are ok, that person will know you’re someone who cares enough to ask and you’re both enjoying some quality time being active, benefiting both your mental and physical health,” Ms Ryan said.

“If they’re not ok, then the R U OK? website recommends four simple conversation steps that you can use to show the other person that they’re supported and help them find strategies to better manage the load.

The 4 strategies are:

  • Ask
  • Listen 
  • Encourage action
  • Check in

To find out more information about R U OK? Day, click here.