The 9th of September is Australia’s R U Okay Day – and it might be the most important day yet this year! Amongst never-ending lockdowns, missing friends and school, setbacks, and missed opportunities, many people are feeling alone and isolated.
Asking one simple question – are you okay? – could be the helping hand they need.
What is R U Okay Day?
R U OK? is a harm prevention charity that encourages people to stay connected and have conversations to help each other through difficult times.
Their work focuses on building everyone’s motivation, confidence, and support skills, so we can feel better equipped to have meaningful conversations around mental health.
Talking about mental health and suicide is challenging for many, but they’re conversations that can change the way someone feels and responds to the struggles they’re silently facing. R U OK? contributes to suicide prevention efforts by encouraging people to invest more time in their relationships and build support networks with friends, family and colleagues.
By being alert and aware of those around us and picking up on the subtle signs that those we care about out might not be okay, we can start a conversation and extend the support that could make a huge difference between someone feeling alone or not.
5 Rewarding Careers in Mental Health to Explore
R U Okay Day is supported nationally within schools, workplaces and communities. There’s a host of mental health professionals on hand to offer support, guidance, and advice to all who want to learn more.
We thought this would be the perfect time to highlight some of the enriching careers you could explore in mental health:
Psychologists are trained to determine whether individuals are experiencing cognitive, psychological or emotional disorders. They draw their expertise from continual research and professional development, usually specialising in a few different treatment methods such as Cognitive Behavioural Therapy. They spend time with clients to understand their experiences and symptoms and then work with them to develop a positive diagnosis and treatment plan. Psychologists require a bachelor degree coupled with postgraduate study and work experience before becoming fully accredited.
2. Mental Health Nurse
Mental health nurses train as registered nurses before choosing to specialise in mental health. They have dedicated knowledge to support patients experiencing various mental health challenges and work with multi-disciplinary teams to provide supportive, proactive care. Mental health nurses can train to work with children and adolescents or with adults. Within Australia, you can complete a fast-track nursing degree for two years before proceeding to postgraduate study and work experience in a dedicated area of your choice.
3. Mental Health Outreach Worker
Mental health outreach workers act as liaisons between patients, their families and other mental health professionals. They work to provide support and advocacy for the patients under their care, ensuring they meet the recommendations of their treatment plans and keep an eye on patients for other symptoms or areas of support they might need. They can also help families and loved ones understand what is happening with patients and guide how best to handle and develop positive relationships that further aid treatment and management of mental health conditions.
4. Mental Health Counsellor
Separate from psychologists, counsellors tend to rely on talking therapies to help their patients work through their mental health challenges and reach positive conclusions and outcomes. They aim to provide a safe, confidential and supportive environment to enables positive interaction and allows patients to work through their experiences. Counsellors are best equipped to help patients cope with immediate issues such as grief or stress, but they also assist with longer-term mental health challenges such as anxiety and depression.
5. Disabilities Services Officer
Disabilities services officers work with various individuals within the community and social care settings to help them manage and overcome mental or physical health challenges. Many individuals who have chronic physical disabilities may also experience complex mental health challenges as a result, so disabilities service officers need to be equipped and prepared to support their clients through these challenges, as well as their physical challenges. They work to support and empower those in their care to engage with a full life, helping them to pursue personal freedom and live the life they want as much as possible.
These careers are only a snapshot of what you could do and get involved in.
Why not check out our Healthcare and Social Services industry profile to learn more about this fantastic sector!
R U Okay Day: Get Involved
The R U Okay Day website has heaps of helpful resources to help you raise awareness and promote the support available to those in your school and community.
Here are a few fantastic ways to get involved:
- Create an R U Okay? Conversation Corner: An R U OK? Conversation Corner is a space where people can have meaningful conversations. The space can remind the importance of taking the time every day to look out for those struggling. You can create a Conversation Corner by purchasing an R U OK? using an existing bench/place in your workplace, school or community.
- Learn how to talk to your peers: Knowing how to start a positive conversation on sensitive topics can be tricky – but it’s a skill that can be learned with the right guidance. The R U Okay Day website has excellent resources for those at school, university or TAFE to learn more and start a conversation the right way.
- Create a fundraiser: Get your school involved and start a fundraiser! What could you do to help raise awareness and funds for a great cause? Check out the R U Okay day resources page for all the help you need to get started!