Backlash Against ‘R U OK? Day’ Suggests Australia Needs To Change Its Approach To Mental Health (

Today, Thursday 10th September, is R U OK? Day in Australia: a day of action designed to bring attention to mental health. Held annually on the second Thursday of September since 2009, it’s one of the most successful mental health initiatives in Australian history, and has become a part of the national vernacular; the zeitgeist.

There’s never been a more important time to talk about mental health, either. The COVID-19 pandemic, which has dominated our lives for almost two years, has been immensely detrimental to our mental health. The quite rational and debilitating fear of illness and death combined with the dearth of social contact thanks to lockdowns and social distancing has been a hell of a one-two punch. Stats from the Australian Institute of Health & Welfare are rather sobering.

While in principle, R U OK? Day is a brilliant idea, a number of Australian intellectuals and public figures have criticised the observance, pointing out how hollow it can feel for some, if the companies promoting it only pay lip service to its message.

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