ASK: R U OK day is held today, and calls on Australians to ask those struggling if they're ok.
ASK: R U OK day is held today, and calls on Australians to ask those struggling if they're ok.

OPINION: Mental health not just one day

STANDING up and admitting you need help is no easy feat and anyone who says it is, is obviously either a much bigger person than I am or has never had to do it.

Today is R U OK? Day around Australia and it is the one question above all others that should be asked daily, not annually.

As someone who suffers from anxiety, I don't shy away from telling people - in fact, it is usually pretty clear to my close friends and family.

Never have I had to sit down and explain to someone that I am having a panic attack. It's a lot like the sun - you know it when you see it.

Living with anxiety is not as hard as you may think and everyone is different, with different ways to cope and different triggers.

Even the slightest of things can set off anxiety in a person who struggles and I am lucky in that I know my triggers and can usually avoid them or deal with them before a panic sets in.

>>READ: Tamara Jensen shares her moving poem highlighting the power of asking "are you ok?".

Today a lot of people asked me if I was okay in the spirit of R U OK? Day and today I was perfectly fine.

Out of the last six years since the initiative began in 2009, I think I've been okay on all of them.

Underneath one in five people's bravado, there is a person struggling.

This is why asking the question needs to be part of our daily life, something we can ask and answer without worrying about being judged.

Before now, my opinion pieces in the past two-and-a-half years at CQ News have never been this personal.

Right now, though, I think it's important to take the day as a chance to explain that mental illness comes in all shapes and sizes - and all forms.

Of all the stories I have written and all the people I have met through this job, I've learnt that no one needs to struggle alone.

The R U OK? website offers plenty of tips on how to asking the question that could save lives.


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