Team Vudoo on the importance of R U OK? Day

Sep 08, 2022

September 8th is R U OK? Day, and it’s a day for family, friends and co-workers to check in with each other. The last couple of years have been particularly tough for people across the globe, and Australian charity R U OK? created the day to remind people that opening up to those around them (or asking people how they are truly going) can be a difference-maker for so many.

Vudoo uses the day to speak about mental health and how we can better navigate our day-to-day lives. To mark the occasion, some of Vudoo’s team members have revealed what the day means to them, why it’s important and how they keep on top of their own mental health.

What does R U OK? Day mean to you?

Nick Morgan (CEO/Founder): For me, it's a time when we as a nation should check in on our mental health. We all talk about it, but as a nation, a community, R U OK? Day is like a forced check in!

Aleksandra Harsic (Global VP of Sales): For me, R U OK? is not just about checking in with someone, but it’s about showing them that you’re there and that you genuinely care. It opens the door to dialogue when the person is ready to chat to you if perhaps they aren’t OK.

Keira (General Manager): I love R U OK? Day, mostly because it encourages all of us to notice the signs of mental health struggle in friends, family, and within our Vudoo Crew!

Peter Papadakis (SDR Team Lead): R U OK? Day means more than the day itself. It is a reminder to speak up, express feelings internally and not be afraid to show vulnerability.

Sian Caton (Marketing Manager): It means bringing much needed awareness to mental health. For many, mental health is a daily struggle that can't be solved with a quick fix, and there is still a lot of awkwardness around bringing up these issues in conversation. 

Ben Madden (Marketing Executive): R U OK? Day is a change to reset and recalibrate, especially when it’s been a busy/tough period. It can be hard to take stock of one’s mental health, but it’s important.

Why do you think R U OK? Day is important?

Nick: There's still a stigma around mental health. I think it's a wake up call for the older generations. They still have a hard time saying I'm not ok. The younger generations seem to have a way better handle on mental health and are comfortable sharing how they feel.

Aleksandra: We all live very busy, hectic lives, so I think R U OK? Day reminds us to slow down and check in with those around us.

Keira: This is something that should be on the mind of everyone every day and having one day dedicated to educating and raising awareness of this is incredibly important. Our Vudoo team works so hard and we are such a great crew. Having this day to get everyone to look out for one another and start conversations can have a huge impact and cause change for a team member.  Creating a special caring and supportive culture within our workplace all year round is important to all of us here at Vudoo!

Peter: Because it’s not the sole focus about mental health and depression. It’s the big picture about connecting with people. Having someone to always lean on and connect with will then play a part towards addressing internal feelings providing relief towards stress and anxiety one experiences.

Sian: We need days like R U OK? to ensure more people are aware of the battles others are going through and to find the right resources and guidance to start those difficult conversations. The more attention we give to initiatives such as R U OK? the more people take notice. If it means one more person reaches out to a friend they’re concerned about, then it's making a difference.

Ben: Everyone’s on their own mental health journey. R U OK? Day opens the door to conversations that people might not otherwise have - and I think as the day happens every year, people become more and more comfortable talking about their own mental health. 

What are your tips for taking care of your mental health?

Nick: As someone who lives with a mental disorder (ADHD) I know I have to work at taking care of my mental health. Medications alone will not suffice. The two big things for me are exercise and sleep. The latter is hard with a young family! But the former is a must. I'm generally not that motivated by fitness - I'll happily sit on the couch for hours! - but I know I have to make time for it, for my head. When I'm stressed or really feeling the effects of my condition, I know exercise can totally recalibrate my head.

Aleksandra: Don’t feel guilty about taking time out for yourself to do something you enjoy!

Keira: I am a huge advocate of keeping active, I truly notice my mental health improves when I’m more active so I aim to make a habit of this as well as making sure I am staying connected to my family and friends!

Peter: Overcome the expectation of thinking mental health will just go away, instead learn to live with it - it’s what makes you, you!

Sometimes I’m so afraid to speak up and think it’s also a hassle or a big deal to talk about how I feel, it’s often the easiest way to feel better even if there’s no immediate solution.

Getting fresh air always works for me, whether it’s an intense run, hitting the boxing bag/ weights or a modest walk can help.

Another situation that works for me is putting myself into a situation that keeps me busy and distracted. I don’t like too much time on my hands and try to keep my mind always churning.

Sian: Mental health looks different to every person, as are the steps we need to take to help. I have suffered from crippling anxiety in the past, it's important for me to spot signs of anxiety before it gets overwhelming. I find writing down my thoughts each day is a good way to pinpoint what's making me anxious. I also try to voice my anxieties to those close to me, getting an outside perspective can really bring you back down to earth. When it's too hard to talk to someone I know, the app Better Help makes it easy to find someone professional to talk to.

Ben: Listen to how you’re feeling, rather than ignoring it. If you’re feeling like you’re struggling, speak to those around you and don’t bottle the feelings up. Take time for yourself to do the things you enjoy too.

You don’t need to be an expert to have an R U OK? conversation. Listening and giving someone your time might be just what they need to help them through.

Ask R U OK? No qualifications needed. Because a conversation could change a life.

For more information and resources we encourage you to visit ruok.org.au #ruokday2022

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