Birtwill businesses come together to ask R U OK?

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In a show of strength, unity, and compassion, R U OK Day 2023 will feature an informal drop-in location in Coolum where people can sit down, have a chat and also have a slice of pizza all whilst shining a light on the importance of never letting the black dog get the better of oneself. The 2023 theme is ‘I’m here to hear’ which is all about engaging in meaningful conversations around mental health and letting people know that they are never alone. The local businesses hosting this chat are asking the community to look out for the yellow balloons on Thursday, September 14 at the downstairs area of 19 Birtwill St from 11am to 1pm. Coming together on the day will be (from left to right) Kim Stocca and Michelle McPherson from Above and Beyond Disability Services, Amore Pizza’s Dan Muscat,  
Rebecca Hawson from Corner Café Coolum and Studio Pilates owner Loren Pennisi.  Photo: Vanessa Hall

ARE YOU OK Day 2023 will serve as a national day of action where Australians will be reminded that every day is the day to ask, ‘Are you OK?’ and start a meaningful conversation whenever they spot the signs that someone they care about might be struggling with life. 

Local Coolum Businesses from Birtwill St will be facilitating that conversation by hosting an informal drop-in space for a chat and slice of pizza.  

Michelle McPherson from Above and Beyond Disability Services said it was a way to bring local businesses together whilst raising awareness for mental health.  

“We thought that with the new corner coffee shop and the pizza shop as well that it was an easy place to have the event, It’s nice and bright here and we will have big yellow balloons which will hopefully get people wondering what is going on.  

“We want people to sit down have some pizza, have a chat and maybe even sign up for some Pilates.” 

Lauren from Studio Pilates sang the praises of how good physical activity can be for mental health.  

“There is so much about this world that makes us feel bad about ourselves and it’s really important that you find something to fill your cup both physically and mentally and Pilates does that.  

“We have people say that no matter how they feel walking into a class they always feel better when they leave – the body and mind just feels better and it’s something that everyone can do.  

“We have clients from 14 to 86.”  

Research from Are You Ok shows just how important the impact a genuine conversation can have on someone who is struggling with life.  

The research found more than four in five people who engaged in a meaningful conversation felt better about managing their situation having talked it through and felt supported, heard, and safe during the conversation.  

A spokesperson for R U OK? said that by taking the time to listen it could save a life.  

“By having a conversation and genuinely listening with an open mind, we can all help the people in our world feel supported and connected. 

“You don’t need to be an expert to reach out – just a good friend and a great listener and let the people in your world know you’re here, to really hear, because a conversation could change a life.”  

The Coolum conversation will take place from 11am to 1pm on Thursday September 14 at 19 Birtwill St. There will raffles up for grabs, pizza, Pilates passes and lots of friendly ears to chat with.  

For support at any time of day or night, Lifeline provides free and confidential crisis support. Call 13 11 14, text 0477 13 11 14 or chat online at:  

For more information on Are You Ok day please visit 

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