Are you a responsible human?

I hope you know its RU OK? Day next week, on Thursday.  Its been around since 2009 and while the concept is simple, the question, RU OK?, can make a massive difference to someone’s life.

We know that isolation and loneliness are rampant in our society, as is the impact of mental health conditions.

These numbers are from the RU OK? Day website and I’ve got to be honest – I work in health and was shocked reading through them, this is really important:

  • About 8 people take their own lives every day in Australia
  • 65,000 people attempt suicide each year
  • Suicide is the biggest killer of Australians under 44 years
  • Men account for around 75 per cent of all suicide deaths

What do you think about those?  I think you would be kidding yourself to think this wasn’t a massive problem.  As a responsible human, it is reasonably accepted that you could do something to contribute to improving these deplorable statistics.

It would be super easy to get caught up in your own ‘stuff’ and not ask that simple question….but we can’t, that’s not ok!!

We owe it to each other as humans to stay connected and have regular meaningful conversations!!

We need to actively and courageously start genuine conversations.  This can be as easy as taking a few minutes to show some care and empathy.  The listening should be active and needs to happen without judgement.  You don’t have to solve the ‘problem’ but rather encourage action and check in on them again soon after the conversation (as explained in detail at http://www.ruok.org.au)

From the health perspective, this is what we would call peer-led early intervention.  Sounds fancy, but really just describes that we are often we are happier to listen to and open up to our peers – so the concept of RU OK? Day has SO much merit.

And lastly, if you are the one being asked RU OK? Please know it is more than OK to say ‘No, I’m not ok’  The people around you who care about you are well placed to provide support for you – let them!  They value you enough to ask how you are, so value yourself enough to speak freely about how you are feeling.

When we feel valued we have reasons bigger than ourselves to be able to deal with life’s up’s and down’s.

So what does this mean for you? – there are two main points to take away:

  1. Ask your important people ‘RUOK?’ and
  2. Know when you are not OK!

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Could you be a Pyjama Angel?

As adults, we have a responsibility to protect our children.  It is like an unwritten rule of adulthood, really, isn’t it?  As is the belief that every child has the right to be loved, cared for and believed in? Nod, if you agree…..  While you are nodding, I want to tell you that:

This Friday is Pyjama Day and it is a fundraiser for the Pyjama Foundation.

Since 2004 the Pyjama Foundation has been all about positively impacting the lives of children in care.  The Foundation largely achieves this through a volunteer staffed, learning based mentoring arrangement, called The Love of Learning Program©.

Here’s what the Pyjama Foundation says about it:

The Love of Learning Program© was developed by The Pyjama Foundation to empower children in foster care with learning, life skills and confidence to change the direction of their lives.

The Love of Learning Program©, sees meticulously screened, trained and matched volunteers (aka Pyjama Angels) visit the same foster child for 1.5 hours each week.  Some of these relationships have spanned many years, bringing that feeling of being cared for and believed in for those children in care all the while, improving their literacy and numeracy! Double win.  This amazing program can only continue with the support of funding – enter Pyjama Day!

If you go to this link, you can see a clip of a young girl who was lucky enough to secure a Pyjama Angel: https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=16&v=3Tw3l7YajH0

Just two other points to note:

  • Foster carers – day after day, they tirelessly give their time and love and care.  The gifts that the carers also bring to children in care are remarkable.  A massive shout-out and thank you to every single foster carer!
  • There are approximately 43000 children in care in Australia (as per Pyjama Foundation’s website) – could you think about donating some time to this vulnerable group to become a Pyjama Angel or some money to make a donation??  If you were interested in finding out more, simply, go to http://www.thepyjamafoundation.com

While most of us take for granted our circle of security, there are so many children in care who need help to learn life skills and gain confidence.

It might be too late to do much advertising for Pyjama Day this Friday, but you could still get involved!!

  1. Go to http://www.thepyjamafoundation.com/nationalpyjamaday/ for all the details of registering your event.  (You can even do it on another day if you prefer to get more people on board!)
  2. Get your workplace to wear their night attire and bring a donation to the cause.
  3. After the day, count up your generous donations and go to https://donation.giveeasy.org/the-pyjama-foundation to put in your details of the donation – every little bit counts to help our children in care.

Thanks!