Today is R U OK? Day, a national day of action to remind all Australians that every day is the day to ask, “Are you OK?” and to check in on your friends, family, colleagues and neighbours.
We caught up with Regional Australia Bank CEO, Dave Heine, to talk about this important issue.
Why are campaigns like R U OK? Day important?
Almost half of Australians will experience a mental health issue in their lifetime. Campaigns like R U OK? Day are so important in shining a light on this very prevalent issue and encouraging more Australians to look out for one another by simply checking in.
Given the unfolding COVID situation across much of Australia, the mental health of our communities is a growing concern. In light of this, it’s never been more important to ask someone if they’re really OK. That’s the key message from this year’s campaign: Are they really OK? Ask them today.
We all know that life has its ups and downs, and if you’re struggling, there’s a good chance someone you know is feeling the same. Don’t wait until someone is visibly distressed, start a conversation sooner and ask them how they’re really going. That chat could be pivotal.
Checking in on colleagues and friends is a little difficult at the moment given current restrictions, how can people stay connected?
With COVID-19 restricting our ability to see family, friends and colleagues face-to-face, it’s hard not to feel isolated and disconnected. I believe the best way to stay connected is by simply keeping up the conversations - pick up the phone and make a video call, host a virtual game night or movie night with friends.
During these challenging times, it’s easy to be consumed by online news or resorting to texting your family and friends, but a lot can be said for having a face to face conversation with someone - even if it’s virtual. In fact, research has found that video and audio calling produces similar amounts of the happy hormone as it does when you see a person face-to-face.
What does R U OK? Day mean to you?
R U OK? Day is a reminder to me that we all need a little help every now and again.
I’m old enough to have been brought up in an age where many of us were taught to just toughen up and deal with it. I’m also old enough to have seen people who appear to be kicking goals on the outside struggle with their own demons on the inside. Unfortunately, I’ve also seen families upended when loved ones struggle.
R U OK? day reminds me that it's normal to not be ok, and it’s my responsibility to look out for those who are struggling.
How will Regional Australia Bank be supporting this cause?
We are encouraging all staff to participate in this great initiative either in branch or virtually by wearing something yellow and making an effort to follow R U OK?’S four important steps: Ask R U OK?, listen with an open mind, encourage action and check in.
Regional Australia Bank prides itself on being a courageous member of our communities and our families. Asking someone if they are ok sometimes takes just a bit of courage. We ask all of our staff to be courageous and check in with others. Take pride in knowing that you just might be helping someone that desperately needs it.
ALEC’s guide to asking R U OK? at Work from R U OK? on Vimeo.
To find out more visit the R U OK? website to find resources you can use every day to help spread the message or learn how to ask someone "Are you OK?" today.