By Sam Aebi
Youth mental health awareness organisation Batyr hosted free barbeques for students at all UniSA campuses on R U OK? Day.
The organisation, which has reached over 70,000 young people through their programs, provided free food for students at the Mawson Lakes, Magill, City East and West UniSA campuses on Thursday.
Students could enjoy a sausage or veggie patty in bread among the company of fellow students and volunteers for Batyr.
Through the free barbeques, the organisation’s aim is to let students know of their presence as a group focussing on ill mental health amongst youth and university students.
The decision to host these barbeques on R U OK? Day meant that students who weren’t okay could approach Batyr and find out what they can do in regards to speaking out about their mental health.
Carly Sare, Batyr’s UniSA Program Manager, discussed how the organisation has goals towards building a stronger and more open community at UniSA campuses.
“Batyr are really about raising awareness. R U OK? Day is quite a familiar campaign but we want to raise awareness of what that looks like on our campus, in our community,” Ms Sare said.
“We’re part of the greater student wellbeing action plan here at UniSA and our goals are to basically smash the stigma around mental ill health and to increase help-seeking behaviour among students.”
Students appeared by the dozen to grab a free lunch and learn about Batyr or talk to someone about how they were feeling.
UniSA journalism student Georgia Lake said, “I think it’s excellent that we’re raising awareness for something that is so important, especially for university students.”
“So many people go through mental illnesses throughout uni and they feel like they can’t talk about it but through events like this we can grow and become closer by talking to each other.”
“I think having a free barbeque like this gets people coming out and supporting a good cause so I’m all for it. I’m not just here for a free lunch,” Patrick Jackson, a UniSA communication and media student, said.
The barbeques proved popular and brought students together to discuss something that people generally keep to themselves.
“Ultimately, we just love to see a culture on campus where everyone’s more connected and more inclusive. Students can know that it’s okay not to be okay and they know where to reach out for help when they need it,” Ms Sare said.
“I think that that’s what these events do, they help to bring that in and normalise it for the community and that’s what I really want to see.”
Remember, it’s always important to ask someone “R U OK?” and it’s always okay to talk to someone about how you’re feeling.
For more information on R U OK? Day visit: https://www.ruok.org.au/
For more information on how to maintain your mental health while studying, visit Batyr’s website: http://www.batyr.com.au/
If you are struggling with your mental health and want someone to talk to, contact UniSA counselling on 1300 301 703 or Headspace on 1800 650 890.
Image source: www.ruok.org.au