What are you doing on Thursday 14 September? Founded in 2009, R U OK? Day is held annually on the second Thursday in September. Its aim: to encourage all Australians to connect with those around them who are struggling with mental health issues. Why is this so important?

Unpacking R U OK? Day is our take on the four simple letters – and one simple question – that can make a big difference.

R for Reality

The stark reality is that an estimated 44% of Australians aged 16-85 have experienced a mental health disorder at some point in their life, and 1 in 5 within the last 12 months. The negative impact of mental health is vast; it can affect an individual’s thoughts, feelings and actions, relationships with others, ability to make decisions and manage stress. In the workplace, a mental health disorder can lead to a decrease in job performance and productivity. According to a 2022 report, untreated mental health conditions cost Australian workplaces $10.9 billion per year.

U for Understanding

So, what can we do about it? An important first step is to acknowledge that poor mental health is a big issue with wide-ranging consequences that is not going away. Next, by gaining a greater understanding of mental health disorders and their impact on individuals, we can demonstrate more understanding to those who are struggling.

O for One Thing

That one thing is action. We can take positive steps to help, such as:

  • Treating individuals struggling with mental health disorders with respect, acceptance and sensitivity
  • Showing empathy
  • Communicating: asking individuals if they are OK and listening without judgement if/when they decide to talk about their symptoms or condition
  • Encouraging individuals to seek support

K for Kick Off

This Thursday 14 September, let’s put four simple letters – and the depth of meaning behind them – into practice. R U OK? By acknowledging, understanding and talking about mental health disorders, we can all help to bring about positive change.

You can reach the professional team at Optimal Recruitment on or 02 8416 4181.