Council is encouraging the Central Coast community to let the people they care about know that you’re ‘here, to hear them’ ahead of R U OK? Day on Thursday 14 September.
Nearly half of all Australians are expected to experience some form of mental illness during their lifetime, and the Central Coast has the highest number of deaths to suicide in comparison to other health districts in Australia. R U OK? Day reminds us that every day is the day to ask ‘are you ok?’.
Council Director Community and Recreation Services, Melanie Smith said the national suicide prevention initiative is a reminder for everyone to reach out to someone who is struggling.
“Our community has faced many challenges over the past few years, so it’s more important than ever to make sure the people in our lives feel supported and connected,” Ms Smith said.
“It’s often our friends, family, work colleagues and others in our local community who can best help us navigate life’s ups and downs. Starting a meaningful conversation is the first step to making a difference.
“The Central Coast community is a caring and resilient one and this R U OK? Day we are asking Coasties to check in with each other and really listen when asking ‘are you ok?”.
Council Administrator, Rik Hart said the Central Coast is known for its strong community spirit.
“Council is committed to strengthening our community and using our voice to help address social and health issues that impact our residents is just one way we can do this,” Mr Hart said.
“I encourage everyone to check in on the people around them and remember that every day is the day to ask ‘are you ok?’ and to have these important, meaningful conversations”.
Earlier this year, Council partnered with Central Coast Surf Life Saving Clubs to upskill young leaders to create ‘safe places’ for starting a conversation about mental health. Some of those volunteers shared their experience and messages for R U OK? Day in a short film.
Central Coast Council has also placed banners on The Entrance and Brian McGowan Bridges to support R U OK? Day and to remind the Coast community to be there for others and, to hear the struggles of those around them.
For more information on how you can make a difference, search ‘R U OK’ at centralcoast.nsw.gov.au
Anyone experiencing distress can seek immediate advice and support through Lifeline 13 11 14 or call 000 if a life is in immediate danger.