Question time: are you ok?

KEY MESSAGE: Ballarat East Community Men's Shed encourages members to check in on each other for support. Picture: R U OK Day on Facebook
KEY MESSAGE: Ballarat East Community Men's Shed encourages members to check in on each other for support. Picture: R U OK Day on Facebook

R U OK advocate Alan Davies says it is amazing the difference social connection and support can make.

The Ballarat East Community Men’s Shed president it was important for people to feel part of something and to feel others cared.

Mr Davies encouraged everyone to take a moment to ask the question “are you ok” and listen to loved ones, colleagues and neighbours – not just on Thursday’s R U OK Day, but all year round.

He said there were shed members who had felt socially isolated, not going out much, before joining the shed where they had opened up into active members.

Mr Davies said the R U OK mission, largely to inspire and empower and connect, fit what the shed was all about.

“The shed tends to bring people out of their shells – it’s somewhere they can go and they’e not under pressure,” Mr Davies said.

Ballarat East Community Men’s Shed also has a mix of men who are on Work for the Dole. Shed members could offer them hints and skills to help re-enter the workforce. 

Mr Davies said this helped build self-esteem and confidence both ways.

Members could be working in the shed and talking, casually checking in and catching up with each other.

This is a similar concept national youth mental health body headspace suggests in their campaign to encourage more fathers to talk with their sons.

headspace suggests starting conversations and strengthening bonds with a chat of a kick of football or conversation in the car because it helped keep conversations seem less intense.

Ballarat and District Suicide Prevention Network and Lifeline Ballarat are encouraging as many people as possible to take a minute and be more aware by attending an R U OK Day event or liking and sharing social media messages from R U OK, Suicide Prevention Australia, Lifeline Australia and the network.

headspace Ballarat will host an R U OK Day barbecue at their Camp Street base on Thursday from noon to 1pm. Wear yellow and write a postcard to someone you care about – they will pay for postage.

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