By REBECCA SPARROW
Now don’t get me wrong. I love the idea behind RUOK day. I love that it reminds us to take the time to ‘check in’ with everyone in our lives – especially those people we know are living with depression. And more importantly to really listen to the answer.
But I have one favour to ask. One reminder to give.
It’s not just those people in our lives who are clearly suffering from depression or any other form of mental illness that we need to ask, RUOK?
It’s also the people who care for them. Their family and friends. Because what I know is that the people providing the scaffolding to those with depression are often bearing an enormous weight. Not a burden. A weight. And it needs to be acknowledged.
There are husbands and wives, and mothers and fathers and close friends who are continually checking in. Dropping everything to offer support. Taking phone calls. Driving over. Or making an extra spot at the dinner table. They are taking on more childcare, household or financial responsibilities. They are often leading the charge for resources, solutions and help.
And that is at times an emotionally and physically draining role. And what we know is that the emotional and mental wellbeing of those carers can also be compromised. And if the family and friends of those with depression aren’t strong enough to be that support network — well, there are no winners.