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For TAFE Illawarra, our first year of involvement with R U
OK? Day saw events across all the Campuses, including provision of
morning tea to staff and students
We humans are social creatures by nature and that has a multitude of
benefits. In fact, 'to connect' is one of the New
Economics Foundation's "Five Ways to Wellbeing". Their
research has found that spending time with friends, family and
colleagues and nurturing those relationships is an effective way to
improve your personal wellbeing.
Back in 2011, as a means to encourage wellbeing of staff and
students, the Careers & Counselling Service and Student
Association at TAFE Illawarra worked together to promote R U OK? Day
.The aim of the day,
which is held on the second Thursday in September, is to remind all
Australians of the importance of asking our mates, colleagues and
family "are you ok?" The vision is a world where everyone
feels connected. Especially during times when they might be struggling
The concept behind R U OK? Day is that "conversations can change
lives". Their website states that if we regularly take time to
talk face-to-face with friends, family and colleagues, it helps us
develop and maintain strong relationships. And when we have these
strong relationships, we are more likely to cope with life's ups and downs.
For TAFE Illawarra, our first year of involvement with R U OK? Day
saw events across all the Campuses, including provision of morning tea
to staff and students. With the refreshments, information was provided
on how to start a conversation in order to ask "are you ok?"
and contact details for support services. Institute management have
been very supportive of the initiative. They even requested it become
an annual event on the Institute's calendar and subsequently have
provided financial support. Since then, the event has grown. Greater
collaboration has meant more modelling of and encouraging the TAFE
community to take up the benefits of connection.
So today at Wollongong Campus for this year's R U OK? Day ...
Services students are running large and small group activities for
170 Year 10 students at Keira High School and handing out information
to the rest of the school during lunch. These TAFE students will also
hold information stalls at a couple of neighbourhood and community
centres in the local area to raise awareness about R U OK? Day on
other days this week.
Lunchtime today will see the Community Services students working
together with the Events
students to run different wellbeing activities for their fellow
students. This includes a table tennis tournament and handing out
conversation cards. Library and Careers & Counselling staff will
help out with the lunch festivities and the Student Association
continues to support the event by providing a free barbecue lunch for
students and free giveaways. The Bakery
students are contributing cupcakes iced in yellow with a black
question mark that will be given out to students. Many of these
activities are designed by the teachers with assessable components so
that the students are simultaneously contributing to course requirements.
Staff aren't left out either – many wear R U OK? Day t–shirts. And
morning tea is still delivered to tearooms with reminders to check in
with their colleagues, friends and family members.
R U OK? Day is more than one day in September. The the conversations
can happen every day.
Are you or a loved one feeling depressed or disconnected? Find help here.