R U OK?: Marcelle Thompson, Cheryl Smith, Ann Felton, Johno Felton, Jimmy O'Leary, Mark Cary, Sheryl Windle, Colleen Wilson, and Sharman Parsons aim to help others improve mental health.
R U OK?: Marcelle Thompson, Cheryl Smith, Ann Felton, Johno Felton, Jimmy O'Leary, Mark Cary, Sheryl Windle, Colleen Wilson, and Sharman Parsons aim to help others improve mental health. Tessa Flemming

Body language: The silent warning in mental health awareness

THE first sign a mate is struggling is through body language, said R U OK? Warwick organiser Johno Felton.

As depression and mental illness continues to rise in the region, due to drought and substance abuse, Mr Felton said the answer "yes” didn't always mean family and friends were out of the clear.

"It gives you an insight on how they're going. They can say I'm ok but they'll be dragging their feet with their head down,” he said.

"We were out at Leyburn the other day and none of those farmers said they wanted to finish it off, but you can tell through body language.

"That's when you talk them through it.”

Talking, said Mr Felton, was the essential baby step in getting help.

"It's the most wonderful thing in the world,” he said.

"We have to keep an eye out for each other.

"If we bond together, we'll get through this.”

Even faced with stoic farmers who were hesitant to admit they needed the help, Mr Felton said an open space and beverage could do the world of difference.

"It's going to something where organisations have to get outside their halls and churches,” he said.

"There's a thing called the Warwick stare at these events, where there's nowhere to hide but we had an event at the Killarney falls and people didn't feel claustrophobic.

"You have a cup of tea and give them the CWA form and and you can tell they're grateful,” he said.

What to do If you're feeling not OK:

From Mr Felton, here are some simple feel-good tips.

Make your bed - You're achieving something before the day's started.

Go to yoga / pilates - It can help slow down a racing mind.

Look after your physical health - There are lot of ways to get free healthcare and boost your self-esteem.

Know when to get help - Contact your GP or Lifeline's Suicide Helpline on 131114.



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