Happiness and Connection
Here at De La Salle College, we held our third RU OK? Day on Thursday 13 September.
These days can be difficult to make meaningful without becoming tokenistic. The Wellbeing Team here at the College want our young men to be connected to each other for myriad reasons. The main reason, and the foundation that RU OK? Day is built upon, is to protect against and lower the risk of suicide. Another reason is that the College is a nicer place to work and study in if people in it are connected to each other. This includes student to student, staff to staff and student to staff. Yet another reason, that often goes unheralded, is that there is no learning without wellbeing!
I wanted to include a plethora of interesting graphs and statistics here, but the formatting became too difficult so you’ll have to take my word for it (or contact me and I can share it with you). According to the sociologist, James Michigan, a deep and meaningful relationship provides us with one or all of the following:
- Emotional Support – You need to be assured that you have people in your corner. These people nurture you and keep you moving forward. This support involves love, trust, care, intimacy, affection and encouragement.
- Tangible Support – These are the people you can call on for help on things like financial assistance, babysitting the kids so you can watch a movie, or going with you to the dentist or doctor.
- Appraisal Support – The people who love you enough to give you constructive and honest feedback about yourself. This type of support cannot be expected from mere acquaintances. It can only come from people who know you very well.
- Informational Support – These are professional acquaintances such as lawyers, mental health professionals, accountants, doctors, clergy and more. They can share their expertise with you when you need it and help you solve problems.
- Companionship Support – Activity friends who make us feel socially accepted. They could be your reading group or church group or any other group of people you interact with socially.
Normally we get these certain types of support from different people. That’s alright — as long as you have someone you can turn to. These people form your social support group. Their presence is something that you should value and appreciate. They play a big role in making you a happier and well‐rounded person.
For those of us that have a student entering the examination period of their VCE year, we will be called upon to fill all these roles at different times over the next few months. We don’t always have to have the deep and meaningful conversation for an hour or so with our lads, sometimes a meaningful “Are you Ok?” is all that is needed. Lots of little conversations and gestures can become a pattern of care and concern that is enough to get them through.
The other tip that seems to be working with my eldest is to get them to imagine what life will be like this time next year; where will they be, what will they be doing, how will they feel? It helps to see past the next little while and keep the bigger picture in sight.
So, thank you for your ongoing support of your sons (and daughters) and remember to ask if they are ok.
Ms Karina Dubroja and I would like to take this opportunity to thank all those staff, students and parents who assisted in the running of the day. Particular thanks must go to Mrs Chris Mundy for her wonderful support and to the VCAL staff and students for helping out with the cooking of 700‐odd sausages on the day!
Mr Anthony Freeman
College Psychologist, Kinnoull Campus