September 12 is R U OK?™ Day and Hockeyroos goalkeeper Rachael Lynch is one of the key drivers of the campaign.
R U OK? Day is the national day of action dedicated to reminding everyone to ask, “Are you OK?” and to remember every day of the year to support people who may be struggling with life’s ups and downs. This year’s theme is to encourage everyone to Trust the Signs, Trust your Gut & Ask R U OK?
Lynch has been an ambassador of R U OK?™ for the past seven years after being founded in 2009 by the late Gavin Larkin after his father committed suicide in 1995.
Together with former Hockeyroo Ash Nelson, Lynch introduced a number of the R U OK?™ initiatives into the Hockeyroos setup, something she is proud to say has become ingrained in the squad.
“I believe ‘R U OK?’ has become part of our language and the culture around the Hockeyroos in that we practise it every single day,” said Lynch.
“Being away from home and away from your support networks living over in Perth, we realised that we need to look out for each other and try and notice things and check in as much as we can because we have challenges as does everyone in life.
“Certainly the pressures of sport, but also being away from home and away from friends and family makes it hard, so there’s little things that we’ve introduced and I’m so proud of the fact that the Hockeyroos do practise the ‘R U OK?’ message and ask each other if we’re alright and listen and check in.”
A registered nurse who has experience and seen her share of people dealing with mental health issues, Lynch says it is a cause that has long been close to her heart.
“I just like the simple message of ‘R U OK?’ and I think it’s more around wellbeing initially…and just everyday practices where you can look after yourself and look after each other, so the fact it’s so simple is what I really like.”
“I think it’s really applicable to every area of life, obviously my nursing at the hospital but also with hockey, and then friends and family as well.
“It’s a really simple thing that anyone could do, so I’m proud to share the message and represent ‘R U OK?’ and hopefully make a positive difference to the statistics around suicide.”