Mental health in focus for R U OK? Day

Jackson Lavell-LeeBusselton Dunsborough Times
Email Jackson Lavell-Lee
Psychologists Heather Lowndes, Keith Mowat and Belinda Butler O’Halloran are urging people to ask R U Ok? more often
Camera IconPsychologists Heather Lowndes, Keith Mowat and Belinda Butler O’Halloran are urging people to ask R U Ok? more often Credit: Jackson Lavell-Lee

Yesterday was R U OK? Day, providing a timely reminder to the Capes community to keep asking, “Are you OK?” and helping break the stigma around mental health in regional communities.

This year has been challenging, with mental health issues becoming more prevalent, resulting in a renewed push for residents to check in with loved ones.

Ocean Clinic Psychology’s Dr Keith Mowat said R U OK? Day provided an opportunity for a “courageous” discussion about mental health, especially in men.

Break Through Psychology director Heather Lowndes said some indicators to look out for included when people stopped socialising or exercising, or had disrupted sleeping patterns.

“There is a big stigma with men’s mental health but it’s changing. Sometimes you need to ask multiple times and listen to those in pain,” she said. “We need to challenge people and be prepared to open a little, because it goes both ways.”

Vasse MLA Libby Mettam encouraged all residents living with mental health struggles to “please remember to reach out”.

“R U OK? Day is an important reminder to check on those we come into contact with every day,” she said. “This year has been challenging and remains difficult for some of us.”

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