ST Joseph’s Regional College students took the lead to ensure their classmates knew all about R U OK? Day on September 13.
With Mr Tom Inatey (Leader Senior School Representative Council) and Year 12 leaders, the college promoted the day, becoming more attentive to art of conversation as a means of connecting with people who may be struggling in their lives.
They spread the message of the importance of having meaningful conversations with people who they identify as experiencing difficulty, depression and negative thoughts.
“We don’t need to be experts, but just good listeners who quite simply act and show care for our brothers and sisters,” said college principal Jim Dempsey.
“Today we live in profound times where the art of conversation in our lives is undermined.
There are forces in society that actively switch us off to the instantaneous nature of information that streams to us continuously and prevents us from reflection and discerning our thoughts.
In our world, traditional family values are threatened. Indeed, we are often too busy to eat together and engage in conversation nowadays.
They took the charge and proved the simple act of engaging in conversation with a person in crisis can change or indeed save, a life.
As it was the 10th anniversary of R U OK? Day, the school’s Year 12 Student Leadership Team wanted to tackle the issue of youth mental health by supporting the day.
“The students handed out a lollipop to every student as they came into the college. The lollipops helped start a conversation the question – are you ok?,” Mr Inatey said.
“The real power of R U OK? Day is in its ability to start those difficult conversations about our own mental health.
“Talking about what is happening in our own lives is sometimes very hard to do and this day aims to break down the barriers and start us down the path of a potentially life changing conversation.”
Mr Inatey said if any student finds they are not OK, they encourage the community to help by listening without judgement and encourage others to seek help.
“We recognise that it is not our job to solve problems, but to offer our ears and our hearts to each other when we are not ok,” he said.
“Students were challenged for R U OK? Day to simply ask someone at school, at home or at work whether they are okay and to start that conversation in their own world.
“At the end of the day by asking this question you will have shown to someone who needs help that you care and want to help.”