R U OK Day

I attended the Victorian Parliament’s men’s health breakfast this morning with 25 other blokes, and we were privileged and uplifted by AFL legend and educator of and advocate for men’s health David Parkin, OAM. We reflected not just on footy and our own health but on those we have lost through mental and physical health hardships and how to live a balanced life. Again this year in my community we have lost good people, men, by their own hand. On R U OK? Day we ask and challenge ourselves to understand others. I am drawn to the strength of Hugh Mackay and his book The Good Life, where he talks about a good life being one ‘devoted to the common good’ and its value to and impact on others. He said: We may aspire to lead a life animated by kindness and based on respect for others, but, for all kinds of reasons to do with our personalities, our temperaments and our circumstances, our life often falls short of that gold standard. He also said that there are those people in our communities: … who feel socially isolated, marginalised or alienated and who, as a result, are at greater risk of depression, despair and even suicide. Friendship, connectedness, engagement, community: these are the great life-savers, the great sources of human fulfilment. We are by nature social creatures—herd animals—and we cut ourselves off … at our peril. I urge people to reach out to others and to work together as we tackle this great human frailty.