R U OK? Is one small question that could make a big difference.
Today (13 September) is a dedicated day to raise awareness about the importance of supporting people who might be struggling with mental health issues such as depression.
The R U OK? movement is encouraging people to ask that very question, saying that could be all it takes to open up a conversation with someone who may be considering suicide.
Mental health has been raised as a concern in the mortgage broking industry, with brokers often working alone, taking clients on the emotional journey of home buying and working with the pressure to earn commissions.
One industry association is taking the R U OK? day to raise awareness of mental health struggles in the industry.
Peter White, from the Finance Brokers Association of Australia (FBAA) said he has seen first-hand friends in the industry suffer with depression.
The FBAA are holding an event today where people can hear from mental health professionals on how to deal with challenges, as well as just providing some support and conversations for those in need.
White will also be announcing a new private registered charity, not associated with the FBAA, to support the mental health needs of parents and carers of special needs children.
As the stepfather of a teenager with special needs, he said he wanted to help others with the information and support to overcome the day-to-day challenges of parents and carers and support their mental health.
Under The Sanity Space Foundation, a facility is being built for parents and carers to go in person for support and information.
Next year, due to their approval from the charity commission, they will be able to offer financial hardship relief as well. This could be used to help purchase prosthetic limbs, wheelchairs or rent/mortgage payments.
Speaking ahead of the FBAA’s R U OK? Day, White said, “We live and work in a highly stressed environment more-so than normally due to Royal Commissions / Productivity Commission report /
ASIC Renumeration reviews / etc, whilst living day to day on the commission we earn, so it is extremely important we talk about mental health as when it gets ugly.
“So we keep the conversation going for people to ask their mates “R U OK?” and just be a friend. If someone is having challenges with mental health if they know you are concerned for them as a friend and they feel they can trust you they will talk to you over time.
“But having early intervention through conversation is one great way to help people having these issues, for it not to progress into something very dark which they may not recover from.
“So as a part of this journey and conversation we support each year R U OK? Day and encourage everyone in the industry to come together to understand from professionals in this area what this is all about and how to deal with challenges.”
You can find out all about R U OK? Day on the R U OK? Website and social media pages.
If you want to find out more about The Sanity Space Foundation, the website is now up and running and it is also on Facebook.