Assumption College captain Bryce Geddes asks the all-important question to coincide with R U OK Day on Thursday. College leaders are implementing activities for students this week to check in on their mental health.

Assumption College student leaders driving the importance of ‘R U OK Day?’ – officially marked on Thursday – through implementing online activities throughout the week.

R U OK? Day is a national day of action dedicated to inspiring people of all backgrounds to regularly ask each other ‘Are you okay?’

R U OK? Day highlights the importance of connection and aims to prevent suicide by encouraging Australians to connect with someone they care about and help stop small problems turning into larger ones.

The initiative has even greater importance this year as many Victorians in lockdown are struggling with their mental health, particuarly students who were remote learning.

“Assumption College school captains and student leaders really do want to know if our community is okay and as a result came up with this R U OK week initiative to encourage conversations,” principal Kate Fogarty said.

“Together our leaders have developed a range of activities with the purpose to inspire and empower people to meaningfully connect with those in their community and lend support when they are struggling.

“The week will be an opportunity for family, friends and work colleagues to connect, even while we are all at working remotely, to start a conversation and make a promise to be there for each other more often.”

Ms Fogarty said the college’s student leaders saw R U OK day as an important initiative in ensuring that all students still felt a sense of family spirit while learning from home.

“They felt R U OK week was the appropriate time to champion the message and ask each of us to make a difference in the lives of others around us. Regular meaningful conversations can protect those we know and love,” she said.

“The pandemic has been challenging on us all. This week is therefore a great reminder to reach out and let those around you know that they are thought of. Staying connected with others is crucial to our general health and wellbeing.

“As a team, students put together a small video demonstrating what it may look like to support and help someone. The video contains effective conversation starters and modelling on how each student can participate in making sure their loved ones are feeling happy and coping during these tough times.

“To mark R U OK week, our students will also wear a yellow item of clothing to their classes. Various activities will be held each day throughout the week to also help with connection and discussion.”

Activities include bingo, a Kahoot quiz on facts about mental health, and students meeting online during lunch time to interact with other students or play word games.

College captain Bryce Geddes said the college leaders hoped that through the small initiatives, they could reach out and make a difference within the school’s community.

“During these times it’s important we check in with those around us. Starting a conversation and listening can really change a life,” he said.

Alanah Ellul said it was difficult to be aware of how someone was really feeling, especially when students could not physically be together.

“R U OK day reminds us that by asking a simple question, we can really have a major impact on someone’s wellbeing,” she said.

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