Conversation can change life – Wollongong

“R U OK?” is the first step in starting a dialogue that can make a difference in someone’s life. This R U OK Day, Wollongong City Libraries is joining the conversation by holding three events that raise awareness about mental health.

The free library events aim to challenge stigmas around mental health and empower community members to have open and honest discussions with the people in their lives.

Wollongong City Lord Mayor Councillor Gordon Bradbery AM said that asking whether someone is ok in a meaningful way can feel make people feel uncomfortable, and they’re unsure how to approach the conversation.

“We ask friends, family, and even strangers ‘how are you’ multiple times a day, every day. Yet, it can be challenging for many of us to step beyond the surface level and really check in with someone who you think may be struggling,” Cr Bradbery said.

“There’s a real need for everyday people to step up and support one another. Mental Health impacts all of us in some shape or form. According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, over two in five Australians have experienced a mental illness of some kind in their life. That means statistically, that’s you or someone you know.

“Asking R U OK is not a greeting but an invitation to someone to respond, share and feel they have been heard. R U Ok Day is a reminder that we need to let the people we care about know that we’re here and we really hear them. Genuinely listening is one of the hardest things to do as it takes an open mind. The good news is that we can all improve how we listen and communicate our support.

“I highly encourage community members to get involved in these local events. These events will offer valuable insights into mental health, including tips on how to get help and how to start a crucial conversation with a loved one who might be at risk of suicide.”

R U OK Day is celebrated on the 14 September.

What’s on?

All events are free to attend. Book your place via Eventbrite.

R U OK Talk – Warrawong Library – Monday 11 September at 12.30pm

R U OK? Join us for a talk on how an R U OK? conversation can make a difference. You will learn to notice the signs someone might be struggling with their mental health, how to ask ‘are you ok’ meaningfully, and find out where to refer to for help if required.

Breaking Down Barriers Around Mental Health – Thirroul Library – Tuesday 12 September at 1pm

Join us for an interactive session that will raise your awareness about mental health, its stigma, as well as how to seek help. There will be board games available at the end of the session. We encourage you to stay, play, and chat with other participants about the topics covered.

About the Speaker: Nigel is a registered psychologist who incorporates coaching principles to support clients to identify and achieve their goals. Nigel integrates a health and wellbeing focus in his work that supports the whole person.

Lifeline Talk on Mental Health – Wollongong Library – Thursday 14 September at 2pm

Join us to hear about Lifeline’s services. You will learn tips on how to speak with loved ones about their mental health. This event is facilitated by Aleuca Angel, a volunteer ambassador from R U OK.

Lifeline South Coast provides a range of non-clinical supports and services from Helensburgh to the Victorian border. Lifeline’s crisis support service empowers communities to be suicide-safe through connection, compassion, and hope.

If you or someone you know would like to talk about any issues raised, contact Lifeline on 13 11 14.

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