Sparking conversations on mental health with free coffees this R U OK? Day

Free cuppas sparked conversations on mental health in cafes across the HealthWISE footprint this morning.

HealthWISE donated more than $6500 to 29 cafes throughout the New England North West and southern Queensland to shout the morning rush for R U OK? Day. A national initiative which reminds Australians to check in on friends and family, customers were also offered R U OK? Day resources on starting conversations about mental health.

Tamworth café Teamo were proud to take part for the fourth year in a row.

“Teamo loves being involved with the ‘HealthWISE free coffee for R U OK? Day’ and (we) enjoy seeing the look on our customers’ faces when they realise their coffees are free,” owner Prue Russ said.

“It brightens our day as much as theirs.”

In Gunnedah Health and Fitness Co, the morning yoga class was treated to free coffees and pastries. Moree’s Brooker Trading Co customers were so delighted that many of them paid the gesture forward, purchasing coffees for others.

HealthWISE Mental Health team leader Tanya Hague recognised that it can be daunting to ask a loved one if they’re ok, especially if the answer is no. She said you don’t need to be a health professional to help someone who’s struggling, and it can be as simple as lending an ear.

“You can absolutely save someone’s life just by listening. Just being there with them, showing them that you care, maybe offering to sit down and have a cup of tea with them,” she said.

“It is really important to genuinely listen to the person and give them your full attention. Be prepared, because it may be a long conversation,” she said.

Tanya recommended visiting the R U OK? Day website to learn more about how to respond when someone tells you they are not ok. HealthWISE also runs free Touchpoints workshops, which educate community members on recognising and responding to people at risk of suicide.

HealthWISE also supported emergency workers with coffee vouchers and targeted mental health resources, as part of ‘Are They Triple OK?’. The companion campaign was developed by R U OK? in response to research by Beyond Blue which found that police and emergency service workers report suicidal thoughts more than twice as often as the general population.

“As part of the HealthWISE Recover, Adapt, Connect Black Summer Bushfires program, we’re working with people around preparedness for natural disasters, and first responders are front and centre in that,” Recover, Adapt, Connect team leader Susan McGuire said.

“We have also put together a presentation for emergency services around mental health resources that are available to them and their families.” Learn more about these presentations or request one for your area here.

As part of this initiative, HealthWISE primary health care nurse Daneal Rodger will join the night shift for the Tamworth 000 communications room on Monday, September 18. Co-funded by HealthWISE and the local McDonald’s store, responders will receive free coffees to keep them going.

HealthWISE is licenced to run Touchpoints workshops through Roses in the Ocean. To learn more or request a local workshop, call HealthWISE on 6766 1394. 

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