Today is R U OK? Day. What a great initiative –  it aims to normalise conversations that people find tough, by getting people to ask their friends, colleagues, family a simple question – R U OK? But that simple question opens up a whole raft of other questions; do you want to chat, do you have something on your mind, do you have something weighing you down?

I am passionate about talking about mental health issues, about helping (where I can) to correct misconceptions, and to make it ok (any day!) to chat in the workplace and with friends about the up times and the down times.

Like many people I have my own personal experience with mental health issues. I’ve had my own ups and downs in life; my beloved aunty has schizophrenia, I have friends who have suffered from mental health problems at different times, and my fiancée recently lost a good mate (in his mid-30s) to suicide.  And the stats speak for themselves – according to Sane, nearly half (45%) of the population will experience a mental disorder at some stage in their lives.

If we think about our work lives, there’s lots of times our resilience, determination and hard work will get us through. But sometimes, our work life can have an impact on our health and/or mental health and we need to be honest about those times.

I encourage you all to look out for each other; be honest, be kind and listen – today, and every day.

-Katarina Farrell

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