St Philomena's school students strike up meaningful conversations for R U OKAY? Day

St Philomena’s school students touched base with their peers and themselves on Thursday and asked the big question “Are you okay?”

The question was asked in light of R U OKAY? Day. The nation-wide initiative encourages friends, family and work colleagues to reach out to someone who may be struggling with life and make a meaningful connection.

Students at the local school took part in a range of age appropriate activities aimed at raising consciousness of the people around them as well as self-awareness.

“We identified the four steps to starting a meaningful conversation,” St Philomena’s School well-being coordinator Cameron Gemmell said.

“You ask someone if they are okay, you listen, encourage action and then check in on the person.”

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Lower grades took part in an emotional intelligence program and mapped their emotions on a feelings chart.

“The focus was about talking more about their feelings and how people may be feeling at different times and how to be smart with emotions,” Ms Gemmell said.

The higher grades learned what signs to look out for and how to empathise better with their classmates.

“If a student is not coming to school, or they’re upset or withdrawn then this is a sign that something may not be okay,” Ms Gemmell said.

The well-being coordinator noted that while it was good to recognise a national day like R U OKAY? it was important to keep the conversation rolling throughout the year.

“I think kids spend so much time at school, that I think it’s an optimum place to be learning about this issue,” Ms Gemmell said.

She said schools had a great network in place with plenty of well-being services available to students throughout the year.

“We do have a school counsellor and a caring faculty. St Philomena’s School is like family.”