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Health benefits next door

  • By hello
  • 21 Mar, 2017

Did you know people living in neighbourhoods that are highly connected enjoy, overall, higher levels of physical and mental health?

That’s why we’re getting behind Neighbour Day, Australia’s annual celebration of community. You can get involved too this Sunday, March 26 by reaching out and connecting with your neighbours. You could grab a cuppa, throw a picnic or simply knock on the door of older person in your neighbour and say hi.  

Need more convincing? Getting to know your neighbours can reap plenty of benefits, including:

  • developing new friendships
  • feeling an increased sense of security
  • being able to ask your neighbour to keep an eye on your home, collect your mail or feed your pet while you're away on holidays. Even give you that extra egg or cup of sugar when you need it.

And you can make a significant difference to the lives of others.

We know social connections are good for our mental and physical health but sadly as we get older our social network can shrink and the risk of feeling lonely increases. By taking time to reach out to older people who may be feeling socially isolated you can change this. We all feel better when we belong and getting involved in Neighbour Day's a great place to start.

Find out more about Neighbour Day at


By hello 19 Apr, 2017

With rail workers sometimes exposed to trauma on the job, finding ways to create a more supportive environment has been a priority for the rail industry. Through the Rail R U OK?Day initiative, the TrackSAFE Foundation in partnership R U OK?, have been tackling the issue by giving rail workers the tools  to help deepen work place conversations and encourage colleagues to open up and support each other through tough times.

Bob Herbert AM, TrackSAFE Foundation Chairman said, “Rail R U OK?Day has helped the rail industry proactively address suicide on our networks in an attempt to reduce the number of incidents, while at the same time mitigating the trauma caused to rail employees, families and communities.”

"We strive to create healthy and resilient workplaces by empowering co-workers to support one another and continually check in, asking one simple question - "are you ok" ?

Depression, anxiety and mental trauma are very real issues impacting rail staff and first responders - and regular, meaningful conversations can really help.

 “We’re proud to celebrate our third annual, industry-wide Rail R U OK? Day. It is an important opportunity to convince workmates that they can make a real difference to someone who is struggling by having genuine conversations.” he said.

Watch the Rail R U OK?Day video .

Rail R U OK? Day’s launch event will take place at:

Where: Main concourse Central Station, Sydney.

When: Thursday April, 20.

Time: Formalities kick off at 9am followed by a BBQ.

Who: League legend and R U OK? Ambassador Brett Finch will speak to workers.

R U OK? Ambassador and former rugby league legend Brett Finch understands the stresses rail workers face.

“I know about the trauma and tragedy that can happen on Australian rail networks,” he said.

“My father-in-law works on the rail and I know first hand the life changing experiences he’s been through and the impact it has had not only on him, but also his family.

‘’If you notice a workmate is a bit off or doesn’t seem themselves, don’t joke or make light of it, because it really could be something important you could help them open up about.”

R U OK? CEO Brendan Maher says he is proud of the successful collaboration between TrackSAFE and the suicide prevention charity.

“The R U OK? ethos has really been embraced by rail networks around Australia and more recently New Zealand,” he said.

“It’s testament to the fact that work places and rail workers have not only encouraged checking in with mates, but have whole heartedly embraced it.

“Rail workers witness some heartbreaking incidents on the job and by supporting each other everyone is better off at work and also at home.” he said.

“Rail R U OK? Day is a reminder to all rail workers to check in not just on the big day but anytime someone looks like they’re struggling.”

By hello 07 Apr, 2017

National suicide prevention charity R U OK? will visit Dubbo as part of Youth Week on Saturday, April 8.

The visit will be championed by R U OK? ambassador Steven Oliver who will talk with local students about the importance of checking in with mates and loved ones or anyone who might be struggling with life.

The event is supported by Dubbo Regional Council, TAFE NSW, headspace, Base Art Inc and the Ochre Opportunity Hub.

Oliver is probably best known for his cheeky role in ABC’s sketch, ‘Black Comedy’, in which he starred and also co-wrote.

While making people laugh is second nature to him, Oliver is also a passionate voice for suicide prevention, having lost family and friends himself over the decades. He is looking forward to reaching out to the Dubbo community about ways to support anyone who might be going through tough times.

“Can’t wait to get to Dubbo and connect with the locals because the older I get the more I realise that life is all about connecting. Connecting through a laugh, a chat, a handshake, whatever. That’s what I love about the R U OK? message,

“It’s about connecting with someone who might be feeling disconnected and it’s letting them know, ‘Hey, I see you and you matter,’ because sometimes in our lives we feel like we don’t and no one should ever feel like that,” he said.

R U OK? CEO Brendan Maher said it was so important for R U OK? to visit regional cities like Dubbo. “This year our focus is to reach and make an impact on regional and remote communities where we are acutely aware that suicide statistics are on the rise. Having the support of a dedicated R U OK? ambassador like Steven Oliver just makes the visit all the more meaningful,” he said.

Base Art Inc’s vice president Lionel Wood will emcee the TAFE NSW Student Hub event and sell raffle tickets to win a signed portrait of Steven Oliver.

The #cantevenask event will be held at:

·       TAFE NSW Dubbo Student Hub (A Block) Myall Street, East Dubbo.

·       Time: 11am until 12.30pm

 Lunchtime event:

·       Apollo House for a BBQ lunch in collaboration with Backtrack Bootcamp.

·       Time: 1pm until 2pm

  TAFE NSW Student Engagement Officer Brigid Palin is thrilled to have Oliver visit the Student Hub and reach out to the students on such an important subject.

“TAFE NSW are huge supporters of the R U OK? ethos and we constantly encourage our students,

teachers and the Dubbo community to check-in on their family, friends and colleagues. We offer quality support through a number of vital support services including counsellors and Aboriginal and Disability support staff,” she said.

"When a community is struck by tragedy we all need to remember to look after each other.”

“The people of Dubbo have experienced a number of tragic events in the past few months, so it’s important we come together this weekend and make a commitment to start these important conversations which can be life-changing.”

headspace Clinical Leader Ann-Maree Hartley will also speak to the students about resources available in their Dubbo office.

“It doesn’t matter where you live in the world, youth suicide is concerning, but living in regional and remote Australia means that our local rates are always significantly higher than the national average,” she said.

“Young people are great advocates for their mates, we see it all the time at headspace Dubbo. If a

friend is having problems, it can be their friend who is the first one to know and walk them through our door.”

Dubbo Regional Council’s Youth Officer Jason Yelverton said having Oliver visit Dubbo as part of Youth Week was a great thing.

“Steven Oliver is someone who really resonates with Dubbo youth, the fact that he’s visiting the city to discuss a much needed message during youth week, is a win for the whole community.

By hello 23 Mar, 2017

Michael Winn is a freelance journalist who uses Write For Your Figh t as a platform to inspire change through personal stories. He believes we are the change that we want to see in the world and hopes this piece inspires more people to ask that simple but potentially life-saving question, “Are you ok?”

Whether we’re going through a break-up, or a tough time at work, a time of confusion, or a time of need – there are moments in life where we all need a sounding board.

A person or a group of people who are there for us, to listen to us, or to discuss things with us. A safe space where we can truly open up, and let out exactly how we are feeling.

And when we aren’t feeling OK, a good sounding board can make all the difference in the world.

A sounding board can be found over a coffee, or over a beer. In a face-to-face conversation, or through a phone. With someone we know, or someone we don’t. When it comes to a good sounding board, it’s all about how we feel.

When you are with someone that can make you feel truly relaxed and cared for, listened to and safe, that’s when our walls come down, and the feelings that we have been harbouring inside can finally be released.

Whether it’s finding a health professional, or a friend that you know will always have your back, the power of a conversation can be the start of the healing process.

For me, opening up came slowly. It took me hitting rock-bottom to realise that internalising my pain, and masking it with a smile wasn’t going to make it go away. And over time, masking these feelings and emotions was turning a problem into an even bigger issue.

My sounding board came in a range of people, with a range of battles they each face in their own lives. It was through these conversations that we could share our pain, and shed our pain.

Conversations in the park, watching their child run amok on a playground. Nights on the couch with a cider and a boxset of American Horror Story. Or a private conversation at a family dinner – each conversation was different, but at the end of all of them, there was a weight lifted from my shoulders, and the more honest I was, the better I felt.

It took me a while to realise that by looking inside, and trusting my heart, that I knew there were people who would be there for me, no matter what I was going through.

I owe a lot to my sounding board - and when I get married next year, there’s a reason that three of them will be standing next to me, by my side, protecting me as always.

By hello 21 Mar, 2017

Did you know people living in neighbourhoods that are highly connected enjoy, overall, higher levels of physical and mental health?

That’s why we’re getting behind Neighbour Day, Australia’s annual celebration of community. You can get involved too this Sunday, March 26 by reaching out and connecting with your neighbours. You could grab a cuppa, throw a picnic or simply knock on the door of older person in your neighbour and say hi.  

Need more convincing? Getting to know your neighbours can reap plenty of benefits, including:

  • developing new friendships
  • feeling an increased sense of security
  • being able to ask your neighbour to keep an eye on your home, collect your mail or feed your pet while you're away on holidays. Even give you that extra egg or cup of sugar when you need it.
By hello 10 Mar, 2017

On Saturday the 11th of March, Lake Cargelligo Recreation Ground will be the venue for the Jamarle Harris Memorial R U OK? Football & Netball Day. The event is the concept of the Harris / Smith family who lost their son/brother to suicide 3 years ago.  The family have planned the event as a way of thanking the local community for the support the family received after their loss and encouraging everyone to check in with anyone who may be struggling with life.

The action packed event will include two games of netball with Lake/Tullibigeal playing against Northern Riverina League Invitational sides, a Golden Oldies combined football & netball match; Auskick; men’s, women’s, boys and girls sprint races along with the ‘Big Bopper’ open sprint for 100kg plus entrants.

The main game of football will see last year’s NRFL premier’s Tullibigeal Hoppers and runners-up Lake Tigers combine to take on a NRFL Invitational team made up of players from Hillston, West Wyalong, Ungarie, Condobolin and some players from the Sunraysia League (around Mildura). The match will feature a number of young and upcoming stars of the Northern Riverina in a pre-season hit-out to help promote the R UOK? message of looking out for your mates. Entry to the event is free and the kiosk will be operating to cater for the day.

Later in the evening, a dinner will be held at the Lake Cargelligo Bowling Club featuring guest speakers Chris McGregor from ‘Mate Helping Mate’ and former NRL player and boxer Joe Williams. An auction of commemorative jumpers worn on the day and AFL memorabilia will be conducted on the night with all funds raised going to R U OK?, Mate Helping Mate and a local Close the Gap charity which will help support young people in sport and recreation pursuits and contribute to holding future community events.

Tickets for the dinner are $25 for Adults and $10 for children aged 15 and under and include a two course meal along with the entertainment. They can be purchased at Lower Lachlan Community Services  from Wednesday 1st March, or at the door on the night if still available.

By hello 10 Mar, 2017

R U OK? CEO Brendan Maher will attend the Queanbeyan rodeo this Saturday to encourage rodeo-goers to check-in with their mates and loved ones or anyone who might be struggling with life.

The Patches Asphalt Queanbeyan Rodeo will be held on Saturday 11th March 2017 at Queanbeyan Showground, Glebe Ave, Queanbeyan.

Brendan said, “People living in regional and rural areas know what it’s like to do it tough and a lot of times have been raised to think it’s not okay to speak up and ask for help when they’re going through challenging times,

“I hope to have some good quality conversations with the Queanbeyan folk and give them some strategies to ensure the people in their lives are connected and protected from suicide.

“I’m really looking forward to meeting everyone,” he said.

The R U OK? marquee will feature inspiring videos playing on the big screen and a Q&A will take place with Brendan and the rodeo’s Justin Potter

In addition to providing an action packed evening of family fun, the Patches Asphalt Queanbeyan Rodeo raises money for various local charities like R U OK? and other organisations.

The 2016 rodeo saw top riders from all over Australia kick up the dust, including Carl Green who took out the John Mills Memorial All Round Highest Point Award at Queanbeyan Rodeo 2016.

The Queanbeyan Rodeo were awarded Outstanding Community Event by John Barilaro in 2016 and also awarded the 2016 Committee of the year from the Australian Bushmen’s Campdraft and Rodeo Association.

Entries from Australia’s top cowboys and cowgirls. Top prize money in all events.   Local (Yass) stock contractor, George Hempenstall, will be bringing his legendary bucking bulls and both JP “Happy” Gill and Rick Wilson will be bringing the very best of their bucking horses.

The sensational bullfighters, Rodney Ray Mansell and Lance Bonham, will be on hand to protect the cowboys and the hilarious Al Wilson will be entertaining the crowd from within the arena.

All the action can be seen live and also on the ‘big screen’ above the chutes. Great food and bar facilities and lots of carnival entertainment for the kids will make the 2017 Patches Asphalt Queanbeyan Rodeo a great day/night out!

o   Opening Times:

Gates open at 2pm with the main event 4pm till late.

o   Admission:

Adults $20, Aged Pensioner $15, Children 8-15yrs $15, under 8 free, Family Pass (2 Adults & 2 Children over 8) $60.

By hello 10 Mar, 2017

Around 100 devoted, glittered up R U OK? supporters gathered at 4pm at the F45 gym in Darlinghurst the afternoon of the Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras, to run through their dance routine one last time.

The enthusiastic crowd of men and women sported R U OK? Budgy Smugglers or black skorts and R U OK? running tanks, gold ribbons and sequinned wrist bands. The vibe was electric as the dancers made their way to the marshalling area past equally amazing costumes, floats and fabulousness. Our R U OK? Ambassadors Bianca Dye and Steven Oliver lead the pack. The R U OK? float sported our Share the Love signage, along with a talented DJ and friendly truck driver.

And then the rivers of gold glitter began to flow.

Dancers sprayed and slapped it over their bodies which collectively looked dazzling. Before long it was showtime and the float began rolling out of marshalling and down Oxford street.

Butterflies and anticipation mixed with mild nerves were allayed as we moved in choreographed splendour around the bend, to the roar of the crowd. Waves, hugs, hand slaps and general goodwill from the throng of thousands made a 45 minute March to Moore Park road seem like a mere 10 minute stroll.

It was an amazing night, full of goodwill and great energy. But most of all we feel R U OK? sent out a powerful message to a community that needs more people checking-in and checking-in again, with anyone who might be struggling.

Thanks to our committee members, dancers and all the big-hearted folk who helped in so many ways, to make our first mardi gras a very meaningful night.

By hello 07 Mar, 2017
Last weekend, 72 R U OK? supporters came together to show the power of conversation and community. The group battled the rain, strong winds and poor visibility as they attempted to summit Mt. Kosciuszko.

Unfortunately, the unsafe conditions meant the group were unable to complete the summit track but their spirits, unwavering support and sense of adventure saw them complete two alternative tracks through Mt Kosciuszko National Park. What a bunch of legends!

Completing the tracks wasn’t the only legendary effort on the weekend as collectively the team raised a staggering $74,000 to help inspire more life-changing conversations.

Steve ‘Commando’ Willis who led the group said, “I’ve been inspired by everyone’s firm belief in the power of conversation. This was a great opportunity to get out in nature and make new friends. Not only have this group inspired me with their high spirits but also their motivation to start conversations with anyone who might be going through tough times.”

The funds raised will support R U OK?’s Community Ambassador Program to ensure there are ambassadors in all corners of Australia ready to empower more people to meaningfully connect with those around them and support anyone struggling with life.

A huge thank you to everyone who took part in Conquer Kozi. We’re already looking ahead to 2018!
By hello 28 Feb, 2017

ONE of Australia’s most respected trainers and R U OK? ambassador Steve “Commando” Willis, will guide 75 men and women up Mt Kosciuszko in R U OK?’s first adventure trek “Conquer Kozi”, an 18km charity walk to the summit of Australia’s highest mountain.

By hello 28 Feb, 2017

SUICIDE prevention charity R U OK? will show its support for Australia’s LGBTQI community in a spectacular way at the 2017 Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras, on March 4. One hundred choreographed dancers, staff and ambassadors will march behind R U OK?’s first ever Mardi Gras float.

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