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For R U OK? Day in 2020, the Hames Sharley team continued its meaningful conversations and empowered each other to connect across the six studios nationally.

In line with several other events and activities that the practice is participating in this year, Hames Sharley formed a series of virtual sessions between their Melbourne and Sydney-based teams and their interstate counterparts, to connect the national studios on a greater level.

The aim was to strengthen, and in some cases, build new connections across the country, at a time when human interaction and engagement is more critical than ever. Both R U OK? Day and the unprecedented nature of restrictions and isolation in the wake of COVID-19 created an appropriate and important context to do this in.

We believe fostering peer to peer support is an integral part of our workplace and communities, and we should all recognise that none of us are immune to the ups and downs life may throw at us. We recognised that whilst we are always here for each other, days like R U OK? Day help us to reflect on what this looks like and the ways in which we can continue to support one another.

So, as an organisation, we sought out to create meaningful human-to-human connections, to ensure we are looking after our own mental wellbeing and to offer support to those around us as we tackle this challenging time together.

This resulted in many heartfelt and enlightening conversations, challenging discussions, honest opinions and of course, lots of laughs. Thank you to the team at Hames Sharley who opened up to participate in these conversations and ask one another, R U OK? A question we will make a conscious effort to ask, every day.

To our communities, we know this year has been tough, and we want you to know you’re not alone. Whether it’s face-to-face communication, talking on the phone, or connecting to each other via Zoom; by starting a conversation and staying connected you could help a family member, friend, or workmate open up. There truly is more to say after R U OK?

We encourage everyone, in support of R U OK? Day, to make a conscious effort to reach out to someone. It is critical to remember the importance of staying connected. Remember – we are all in this together.

You don’t have to be an expert to keep the conversation going when someone says they’re not OK but it’s important to remember that having meaningful conversations could change a life.

To help, here are some tips from Lifeline on staying connected to others during this time.

If there is someone you think may struggle through social isolation, it is important to reach out to them and let them know you care:

  • Call them to check on their welfare
  • Send an email
  • Leave a note under their door
  • Don’t underestimate the power you have to offer hope to another person

Let’s get creative with how we interact, here are some ways to stay connected if self-isolating:

  • Set up a gratitude tree – where every member posts a message or sends a text to other members to share something they are grateful for.
  • Find a buddy, or group of, to set daily challenges with. These could include a healthy habit, a mindful practice, a creative pursuit. Be sure to encourage and check-in daily to stay motivated.
  • Set dates and times to watch the same TV shows/movies with someone and message each other your thoughts along the way… kind of like Goggle Box but you’re not sharing the couch!
  • If your local community has one, join its social media group! This will keep you up to date with what’s going on directly around you. It may also include ways you can perhaps reach out and connect with someone less fortunate than you and ways to assist them.
If you are having suicidal thoughts, please seek assistance by contacting your trusted healthcare professional or calling Lifeline on 13 11 14. If you are concerned for your safety or the safety of others, seek immediate assistance by calling Triple Zero (000).