R U OK? Day is a time to check in with yourself and with those in your orbit about how you're all feeling, mentally, physically and emotionally. Of course, bringing awareness to our mental health is not something exclusive to one day of the year; but a reminder never goes astray, especially as we all grapple with the fallout of the pandemic.
As we well know, many of us have been separated from loved ones, are learning to deal with disrupted routines and have had to adjust our visions of the future. What does this tally up to? A collective experience of grief. Grief for normalcy, grief for people and grief for time that we'll never get back. As a result, some of us are languishing — a new word in our lexicon thanks to the pandemic. Others are baking a lot of bread. All we know is that this time around R U OK? Day hits different.
The good news is that there are plenty of resources for those of us feeling the weight of this grief. Our friends at the Indigo Project are teaming up with Pinterest to bring us mental health exercises and resources just in time for R U OK? Day. While these exercises are no substitute for professional care, if you're struggling please reach out to a doctor or counsellor, they're a simple way to bring awareness to how you're feeling.
Ash King, Content Creator at the Indigo Project shares the reasoning behind this partnership. "Pinterest is the ideal platform to share helpful information on positive ways we can learn to talk and connect with ourselves and with other people in ways that are validating and supportive."
"Our Idea Pins aim to invite Pinterest users to prioritise their mental health and wellbeing, even just for little pockets throughout the day, with self-care and anxiety management tips," she continued.
Searches for 'quotes about anxiety' on Pinterest have increased five-fold while people seeking resources for 'how to support someone with depression' have doubled — it's this that prompted Pinterest to look into how they could help users wrestling with ill-mental health. Annie Ta, product lead for Inclusive Product at Pinterest said, "We have a responsibility as a visual platform that reaches so many people to think more deeply about our role online and offline."
Anyone who searches for quotes or activities that fall into the realm of mental health will be met with a banner beneath their search that reads, "if you’re feeling sad or stressed, here are some resources that may help improve your mood". By selecting 'take a look' users will be lead to a page with breathing exercises and other self-awareness raising exercises like "Identify your values" and "Recognise your strengths". Each exercise is under five minutes and are easy to blend into busy schedules or late night doom-scrolling.
If you or anyone you know are struggling with emotional and mental health, just know support is available. Call Lifeline 13 11 14 or visit their website at https://www.lifeline.org.au/.