A barbecue is often a good chance to catch up with friends and ask them - RU OK?
RU OK? Day Will be marked on Thursday September 12 and an important event will be held at Bunnings in St Vincent Street.
Grand Pacific Health's Housing and Accommodation Support Initiative's (HASI) Ulladulla team are holding a barbecue at Bunnings from 9am to 4pm to support R U OK? Day,
R U OK? Day is a suicide prevention charity empowering everyday people to start conversations around mental health and wellbeing in the hope of breaking down stigma, building meaningful connections and offering support.
HASI Support Worker Jamie-Lee Stevens says the group's program supports people who struggle with mental health issues and she is passionate about engaging the community around this issue.
"During the barbie we plan to have some conversation-starting activities to interest people and 'create a conversation' around people's mental health," she said.
"We have linked in with our local Bunnings who are hosting the event at their warehouse, Bakers Delight are kindly donating loaves of bread and Ulladulla Meat Markets are donating the sausages.
"All donations will go to the R U OK? Charity."
Go to www.ruok.org.au/ to get more information about R U OK? Day.
Meanwhile, Grand Pacific Health's work is not just limited to one day or event a year - take a look at the two cases studies that shows what the organisation achieves.
Healing takes place at a beautiful place
Sadly, the Ulladulla region experiences relatively high rates of male suicide - among the highest in NSW.
A spike several years ago prompted action by a group of community health workers, who put their heads together to come up with some local strategies.
One of the initiatives that came out of this, was an annual men's camp -hosted by local Aboriginal elder Uncle Noel Butler and his wife Aunty Trish Butler on their beautiful property south of Ulladulla.
The core focus of the camp was to bring men together who have struggles in their lives such as mental illness, to help them find answers within themselves spiritually, mentally, physically and emotionally - in a safe and supportive environment.
Over the years, men from all walks of life who have participated have learned valuable lessons from each other, formed connections and experienced a range of positive outcomes.
In 2018, a shortfall in funding meant the camp may not go ahead until Grand Pacific Health (GPH) offered to sponsor it.
GPH, this year, funded the camp for local HASI participants to attend and plan to expand on this in 2020.
HASI Support Worker Troy Pease says the three-day event, held in May, was great.
"GPH's Gareth, George, Adam, Michael and I attended part, or all of the camp, to support our participants,"Troy said.
"The men enjoyed learning things like tool-making, art, hunting and gathering skills, bush tucker and medicine, traditional dance, cooking traditional and organic food and being part of yarning circles.
"When they did these activities, they felt a strong sense of belonging - something many who have experienced isolation haven't felt for a long time."
Guest speakers were also invited to present on topics of interest.
"During the camp, some men struggled with personal issues that have been affecting them in their lives but when this was observed in the group, the others would lift this person up and be a source of encouragement to them," George said.
Part of the camp involves hiking to some extremely large trees on the Butlers property.
The men describe this as a very emotional experience - the sheer size of the trees and the peace found within nature helps put things into perspective for many.
Imagining the root system that must support these trees is equally meaningful but it's also the site of a traditional Aboriginal meeting place.
There is a natural circle in the landscape making it an ideal spot and offers a gentle reminder to all who visit that we were never meant to be alone but we were created for community
When getting help works
The first thing Dan's support workers say are 'Dan has come such a long way'.
The Dan you meet today is confident in who he is and has strategies in place to manage his anxiety.
Going to the men's camp proved to be off great help for Dan.
Dan felt intimidated by some of the blokes and spent the first few hours in his tent, contemplating leaving.
HASI Support Worker Troy Pease came alongside him, helped him connect with others and by the third day Dan was 'a different person' according to Troy:
"He was bringing up subjects, opening up and was comfortable sharing around the fire," said Troy.
Dan said it was a privilege to attend the camp.
"The unique thing about having the privilege of attending an Indigenous camp is that you get treated like family. Everyone is treated equally no matter what your background is and there is a great sense of belonging," Dan said.
This year when Dan attended the camp he basically took on a peer support role, showing just how far he has come.