Our Say: Reach out and show someone that you care

It is ironic that in this day and age – connected as we are by social media – that we can still feel so isolated and alone.

That even though our family and friends are being brought closer than ever by the technology that increasingly rules our every day, they can still seem so distant and lost to us.

We hear a lot about mental health these days, especially as we do, living in a regional area.

We hear plenty about how mental health issues can cost our society.

It costs us as individuals. It costs families that are torn apart. It costs communities that then pick up the pieces.

But as the Prime Minister, Malcolm Turnbull, said only recently – “it is especially costly when people take their own lives”.

His conclusion then, was that we all have a “vested interest in each other’s mental health”.

And he’s right on the money.

They say it takes a village to raise a child.

Well shouldn’t the same apply here.

Where each and every one of us can share in the responsibility to create a fit and (mentally) healthy society.

Each year, around one in every five Australians experience mental illness and in 2015, more than 3,000 took their own life.

Yes, governments and health providers can do their bit, and they are, but it really comes down to us to watch out for each other.

And that goes beyond family boundaries.

Today (Thursday, September 14) is R U OK? Day.

The R U OK? Conversation Convoy visited Dubbo last week as part of a six-week tour around Australia, covering 14,000km and stopping in 20 communities. It ends today.

The idea behind it is simple – but highly effective.

By connecting with those around us, we are creating a village - the kind of village that cares enough to pay attention – and not just for one day of the year.

Just leaning over the fence, or desk, or picking up the phone can make all the difference in someone’s life.

It shows them they are not alone, that we all share in the journey – and can help when times get tough.

You may not just change a life – you may save one.

If you or anyone you know needs help you can contact:

  • Lifeline 13 11 14
  • beyondblue 1300 224 636