NSW Nationals: R U OK to discuss mental health? U R

Can you imagine how you would feel if the fire brigade rushed to your burning house only to water your neighbour's garden? The fire brigade never would, because they would see the smoke and flames and know how to respond. You would also sense danger and rush for help or to warn others.

Elizabeth Veasey.

Elizabeth Veasey.

But suicidal tendencies are not as apparent as a burning house, nor how to respond to such an emergency. Suicide is the leading cause of death among Australians aged 15 to 34, says the Australian Bureau of Statistics; and ABS statistics also show regional Australians are at an increased risk of suicide.

That’s why initiatives such as “R U OK? Day” are so important. Founded in 2009, the day champions the idea that a meaningful, heartfelt – even difficult – conversation can help save a life. Even general conversations around the idea of mental health and a healthy society can save many more.

On Saturday, September 16 at 7pm, the Yass Valley community can come together to talk about mental health. An R U OK Day? dinner at the Yass Golf Club will raise money for the initiative though a silent auction and trivia rounds. NSW Deputy Premier and Monaro MP John Barilaro will be guest of honour. Tickets are available for $40 each (including dinner and dessert) online:

In my own struggles, I have a community of people around me, my family, and my partner.

That’s my wish for others in times of crisis: compassion, resilience, and momentum to better days.