Today, 13th September 2012 is R U OK? day!
If you are unaware of what R U OK day is, the official website www.ruokday.com has this blurb as a description of what today is all about:
R U OK? Day is a national day of action on the second Thursday of September, dedicated to inspiring all people of all backgrounds to regularly ask each other ‘Are you OK?’
R U OK?’s mission is to help end suicide by empowering people to make a difference, encouraging open and honest conversation, whilst driving real connection. To generate conversation at a national level, we work closely with media to ensure they can report on and discuss prevention of suicide in a way that is meaningful and relevant to their audience.
What a brilliant concept! It’s one we should take heed of every day, not just one day a year when it’s in the foreground of our thoughts.
I think this concept is highlighted in a lot of books. Part of this point is mentioned in The Happy Logophile‘s blog, recently she posted a couple of posts about her experience of a few workshops at the Brisbane Writing Festival, one of which highlights the types of characters in books. You can see the one in question here. I read it last night, it got me to thinking, and as luck would have it, it just seemed to tie into today.
She talks about a number of characters that assist, befriend and even potentially die for the protagonist. Each book you read will have at least one of them in it and sometimes multiple, which is why I was wondering why we don’t take a page out of the books we read more? Why don’t we as humans, as friends, as the sidekick, or the secret companion help out our real protagonist friends?
If every day were like a work of fiction would we be teaming up to conquer the evil stationary hoarders? Putting each other through our fighting with wooden rulers training? Assisting our protagonist in obtaining the Holy Grail of cheese sandwiches or unlocking the mystery that is a humans compulsion to pop bubble wrap?
Joking aside here, there’s a real message we highlight in our writing, one that everyone should heed, but too few seem to. Even though our characters often have to experience some pretty horrific things, they end up having a support network, sometimes it’s a best friend, a loving family, a great and formidable mentor or an unlikely saviour, but they still have one. Those friends ask the protagonist if they’re ok, or know when they’re not and take action to assist them.
Why is it we as human beings seem to find this so difficult to emulate in real life? Why is it we don’t seem to hear the pain in our friend’s silence or see the tears that stain the pillow case at night? Why can’t we see when they are not OK? Or if we do, why don’t we help them?
So people, let’s take a leaf out of our favourite characters books. Let’s become the Ron Weasley’s, the Hermione Granger’s, the Dr John Watson’s, the Samwise Gamgee’s or the Donkey’s to our Harry Potter, Sherlock Holmes, Frodo Baggins and Shrek friends out there. Ask them today and whenever you see their need, if they’re ok. Let’s put a stopper in the spread of depression and loneliness, help friends deal with mental health issues and help prevent suicide. You never know what you may help a friend through. Perhaps you might even save someone’s life.