From Australia: R U OK? Day

Who will you ask?

It seems hard to believe that tomorrow is RUOK?Day after all the planning.

You may have seen the very moving tribute to Gavin Larkin – the founder of RUOK?Day – on last Monday night’s Australian Story. It has had a massive impact.

At the end of this email Prime Minister Julia Gillard and actor Hugh Jackman encourage people to ask RUOK?.

Think of those around you that may be having a tough time. They may be going through divorce, lost a loved one, or just been retrenched. Just reaching out to them and offering support and asking RUOK? can make a huge difference. I know.

About a week ago, I was contacted by Kirsty Chick, an energetic lady whose mother had struggled with bipolar. Although Kirsty’s mother had passed away some time back she was immediately touched by the RUOK?Day concept and decided she wanted to do something special to celebrate the day. Being a film maker she realized the potential of social media. I connected her with a friend of mine Glenn Capelli, who with his friend Steve Woodsey had been inspired to write an RUOK? song and teach people to how to “sing” the “Are you OK” message using sign language.

Fast forward a week and Kirsty has secured Chris Sebastian (who has struggled with depression) the brother of singer Guy, to lead a FLASHMOB in Bourke St Melbourne opposite Myers, and sing Glenn’s RUOK?Day song. Glenn will coach everyone 🙂

They have set up a Facebook Page especially to help organise it. If you can attend fantastic. If not, then why not encourage your Melbourne friends to attend. Wear something yellow.

Prime Minister Julia Gillard: “The cost of suicide to individuals, families, communities and Australia as a nation is immeasurable. Sadly, most Australians have personal experience with the tragedy that is suicide and wish they could have done something to help. It is empowering to know that a friendly question can act as suicide prevention…. I congratulate the organisers of R U OK?Day on another successful campaign and I encourage all Australians to turn to the person next to them on Thursday 15 September and ask the question – Are you ok?”

Actor Hugh Jackman: “Looking out for our mates is one of the foundations our country was built on. In 2011, R U OK?Day gives us all a chance to stop and really connect with our friends to see if they need our support. For some people it is hard to ask for that help, so let’s all take a step closer to those we know and ask one simple question “Are you ok?”

About annecwoodlen

I am a tenth generation American, descended from a family that has been working a farm that was deeded to us by William Penn. The country has changed around us but we have held true. I stand in my grandmother’s kitchen, look down the valley to her brother’s farm and see my great-great-great-great-great-grandmother Hannah standing on the porch. She is holding the baby, surrounded by four other children, and saying goodbye to her husband and oldest son who are going off to fight in the Revolutionary War. The war is twenty miles away and her husband will die fighting. We are not the Daughters of the American Revolution; we were its mothers. My father, Milton C. Woodlen, got his doctorate from Temple University in the 1940’s when—in his words—“a doctorate still meant something.” He became an education professor at West Chester State Teachers College, where my mother, Elizabeth Hope Copeland, had graduated. My mother raised four girls and one boy, of which I am the middle child. My parents are deceased and my siblings are estranged. My fiancé, Robert H. Dobrow, was a fighter pilot in the Marine Corps. In 1974, his plane crashed, his parachute did not open, and we buried him in a cemetery on Long Island. I could say a great deal about him, or nothing; there is no middle ground. I have loved other men; Bob was my soul mate. The single greatest determinate of who I am and what my life has been is that I inherited my father’s gene for bipolar disorder, type II. Associated with all bipolar disorders is executive dysfunction, a learning disability that interferes with the ability to sort and organize. Despite an I.Q. of 139, I failed twelve subjects and got expelled from high school and prep school. I attended Syracuse University and Onondaga Community College and got an associate’s degree after twenty-five years. I am nothing if not tenacious. Gifted with intelligence, constrained by disability, and compromised by depression, my employment was limited to entry level jobs. Being female in the 1960’s meant that I did office work—billing at the university library, calling out telegrams at Western Union, and filing papers at a law firm. During one decade, I worked at about a hundred different places as a temporary secretary. I worked for hospitals, banks, manufacturers and others, including the county government. I quit the District Attorney’s Office to manage a gas station; it was more honest work. After Bob’s death, I started taking antidepressants. Following doctor’s orders, I took them every day for twenty-six years. During that time, I attempted%2
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