According to Beyond Blue,
In Australia, it’s estimated that 45 percent of people will experience a mental health condition in their lifetime.
In any one year, around 1 million Australian adults have depression, and over 2 million have anxiety.
No one knows this better than the late “R U OK?” founder, Gavin Larkin.
Gavin Larkin lived a remarkable life with an even more remarkable story.
A top advertising and marketing executive, Gavin was regarded as a “typical alpha male” amongst his peers.
In 2009 after the suicide of his father, Barry Larkin, Gavin founded the national day of action to prevent suicide.
An excerpt from Barry Larkin revealed a small insight into his mental health struggle;
“It’s so easy to just slip into sadness and despair and a chain of you know depressing or angry thoughts.”
In February 2010, Gavin was diagnosed with an aggressive form of Lymphoma with little chance of survival.
Shortly after, his 12-year old son was diagnosed with a brain tumour.
“My world just collapsed. It was like getting hit by a truck. The fear is intense because you don’t know what it is.”
Despite the major challenges in his life, Gavin utilised his marketing background and high-profile contacts to establish “R U OK?” day into what it is today.
“COULD ‘R U OK?’…BEING ASKED BY THE RIGHT PERSON AT THE RIGHT TIME HAVE SAVED MY FATHER?
I think absolutely it could have, but there was a time when it would have needed to be by, not towards the end. And so the message of R U OK? Day is to stop a little problem from turning into a big one because that’s your best chance of avoiding the ultimate disaster.”
Before his death in 2011, Gavin was able to achieve 30 percent awareness across the country. One in ten adult Australians had an “R U OK?” conversation.
As Melbourne opens up, it’s a good time to check on your mates and organise a catch up.
Check up on a mate you haven’t seen in a while; shoot them a text, tag them in a meme or invite them out for brunch.
A small gesture can go a long way.