News | R U OK? DAY

Posted 10 September 2020 by Catholic Education in News

2700 packs of wellbeing postcards and delicious cookies - baked with love - have been distributed to Catholic Education Diocese of Wollongong (CEDoW) teachers, school and office staff to encourage people to take a break, start a conversation with friends, colleagues, and loved ones, in support of R U OK? Day

2020 has been a challenging year for so many, and now more than ever, it’s important to ask the simple question R U OK? because starting a conversation could make a difference in someone’s life. 

COVID-19 has had a devastating effect on people around the globe. Separation from loved ones, loss of work, and financial stress have impacted greatly on the mental health and wellbeing of so many, including those working in the education sector.

Teachers and school staff have been instrumental in one of the largest transformations in the history of education delivery, under intense time pressures. Throughout the year, students of all ages have missed out on activities and events that enrich and ‘for some’ complete the school experience. Restrictions continue to pose serious challenges to the way we live and work. 

Director of Schools, Mr Peter Hill said that while staff are unable to gather together for morning tea, he encouraged them to see the cookies as an opportunity to reach out to one another. 

“While we may not be able to gather for the traditional morning tea, we can still make a difference today—and every day,” said Mr Hill. “St Teresa of Calcutta reminds us that we can all “do small things with great love”. Please don’t let this day pass without asking a colleague, friend, or loved one if they are OK, listening sincerely, encouraging action, and continuing to check-in.”

Along with the wellbeing postcards and cookies, each school also received a box of R U OK? teabags and a prayer resource package, including the most recent episode of the CEDoW Ripples podcast, which discusses the history of the R U OK? Day campaign.

R U OK? Day was founded by Gavin Larkin, following the tragic suicide of his father Barry. Sadly, Gavin passed away in 2011. You can hear more of the R U OK? Day story on the Ripples podcast where Gavin’s daughter, Josie, speaks of how the very simple act of asking one question has changed (and saved) countless lives over the past 11 years.

This year R U OK? Day coincides with World Suicide Prevention Day - a day dedicated to raising awareness that suicide can be prevented. While the resilience, courage, and commitment that Catholic Education staff has shown to the young people in schools has been a constant source of optimism and hope, Mr Hill says it is not a time for people to simply ‘soldier on’, but a time to encourage all staff and students to speak up and seek support if their wellbeing is at risk. 

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