Mental health services on hand at R U OK community day at Tura Beach

Mental health advocates are urging everyone to ask R U OK? with a community day at the Tura Shopping Centre on Thursday with mental health services on site available to everyone.
Mental health advocates are urging everyone to ask R U OK? with a community day at the Tura Shopping Centre on Thursday with mental health services on site available to everyone.

R U OK ambassador and mental health advocate Glenn Cotter is urging anyone who hasn't quite felt themselves to take part in a community day at Tura Beach on Thursday.

September 10 is national R U OK day and service providers will be reaching out to the community, with an event held in front of the Direct Chemist at the Tura Shopping Centre from 10am until noon.

"We're all facing really challenging times and the critical point is that the real conversation starts after the question 'are you okay?'," Mr Cotter said.

Service providers will be available to speak with people from all walks of life, including those on the autism spectrum and youths with specialist services on hand.

Providers include Rural Adversity Mental Health, Headspace, Wellways, One Door, Autism Spectrum Australia and Bega SPAN among a few others, Mr Cotter said.

Appointments are not required and Mr Cotter said the community day was "very casual" to provide a welcome atmosphere for people struggling through difficult times.

"Mainly it's a matter of it's been a challenging year - we've come straight out of bushfires into COVID-19 and people and businesses haven't had a normal 2020," he said.

R U OK ambassador Glenn Cotter.

R U OK ambassador Glenn Cotter.

"So if you see someone not doing so well or if you're not feeling well, don't be afraid to seek help."

Mr Cotter said the day was also a critical reminder that conversations can save lives and encouraged everyone to check in with their mates.

"Every day is the day to ask 'are you OK?'," he said.

"It's four simple steps: Ask your mate 'are you OK?', listen without judgement; encourage them to seek some help or look at services available; and then to check in with them.

"You don't have to know the answer, you just have to listen and that conversation could save a life."

Mr Cotter said Thursday's community day at the Direct Chemist will be the primary R U OK mental health support day of the year and encouraged everyone to take part.

Advice about starting the conversation can be found at ruok.org.au.

This story Aussies urged to ask R U OK? amid challenging year first appeared on Bega District News.