I’m such a fan of RUOK? Day. Started in 2009, it’s an Australian non-profit suicide prevention that is all about having conversations with others to address social isolation and promote a sense of community. What I love the most, is that RUOK? Day has become quite an event on the Australian calendar. You’d be hard-pressed to find a workplace that doesn’t host a morning tea or a retailer that’s not selling a ribbon or badge in support of the day. In my opinion, it has given many of us the confidence to talk about mental health and that, my friends, is a very good thing!

When You’re Not Feeling OK

You wouldn’t be human if you hadn’t ever felt a little down or anxious. It’s the natural ebb and flow of daily life. However, if these symptoms are hanging around and are affecting your ability to ‘do’ life then, it’s time to take some action.

Remember, it is incredibly common for someone to experience a dip in their mental health. Recent research shows that over 2 in 5 Aussies aged 16 to 85 will experience a mental disorder at some time in their life, with 1 in 5, experiencing a mental disorder in the previous 12 months.

If you’re not feeling OK, the most important thing to remember is that you do not need to deal with this all by yourself. Sometimes when you’re feeling really low, the thought of leaving the house and facing the world can feel too much. I totally get it! And that’s where the online world can play a huge role. There is an abundance of resources available online for anyone who needs mental health support which makes it so much easier to get the help you need when facing the world just feel a bit much.

Where To Go Online When You’re Not Feeling OK

Here is a list of organisations that offer online mental health services here in Australia. This list is not exhaustive however these are the most commonly used, and hence best funded, support services. If you are based in the US, please find details at the end of the post for organisations that can provide mental health support.

When Things Are Pretty Dire

  • The Suicide Call-Back Service offers free professional 24/7 counselling support to Aussies at risk of suicide, concerned about someone at risk, affected by suicide as well as people experiencing emotional or mental health issues. There is an option for telephone support as well as online chat and video counselling also.
  • If you need to speak to someone ASAP then contact Lifeline. They offer a free 24/7 confidential one to one counselling service that can help you in a crisis. You can, of course, choose to speak to someone on the telephone (13 11 14) but you also have the option of either messaging or texting (0477 13 11 14) with a counsellor also.
  • Beyond Blue is another great Aussie mental health and wellbeing support service that can help in an emergency. Again, it offers 24/7 confidential counselling services for anyone who is struggling. Telephone counselling is an option here (1300 22 4636) but if you’d prefer, you can use their web chat option here.

Online Help Specifically For Young People

  • Kids Helpline is a dedicated 24/7 support service for young people aged 5 to 25 who want to chat for any reason. It’s free (even from a mobile phone) and there is a choice of telephone counselling or support via web chat or email. You can also access support if you are an adult supporting a young person. Since it was established in 1991, the service has supported over 8.5 million people. The service offers everything from life-saving crisis intervention through to emotional support when young people just need someone to listen.
  • Headspace is Australia’s Mental Health Young Foundation. It also provides free online and telephone support from 9am to 1am AEST, 7 days a week for young people (12-25) and their families. In addition to its crisis support services, it also offers regular counselling options through its network of 150 centres around Australia.

Other Services

  • The Butterfly Foundation’s National Helpline is a free confidential service that provides information, counselling, and treatment referral for people (and their families) with eating disorders and body image issues. It operates between 8am and midnight, 7 days a week and offers support via telephone (1800 33 4673), email and web chat. This is not a crisis service.
  • Friendline is a telephone and chat support service for anyone who’s feeling lonely, needs to reconnect or just wants a chat. You can call them 7 days a week on 1800 424 287, or chat online with one of their trained volunteers. All conversations with FriendLine are anonymous. This is not a crisis service.
  • MensLine Australia is a professional telephone and online counselling service offering support to Australian men 24 hours/7days a week. Whether it’s addiction issues, domestic violence, anxiety or depression, the service is able to offer support on 1300 78 99 or via online or video chat.
  • Open Arms – Veterans and Families Counselling provides 24/7 free and confidential telephone and webchat counselling to anyone who has served at least one day in the Australian Defence Force, their partner, and their families. It isn’t a crisis service, but it can offer ongoing mental health treatment and services.

So, if you are not just yourself at the moment and are feeling really low – or you know someone that is – please know that there is help available online 24/7. So, make yourself a cuppa and get started because you are not alone.

Alex xx

PS For my US friends:

The 988 Suicide & Crisis Helpline provides 24/7 free and confidential support and crisis resources for people in distress, and their families. Simply text or call 988 to access help.

The Crisis Text Line is a free and confidential 24/7 support service for anyone who resides in the US. Support can be accessed by text message (text HOME to 741-741) and online chat.

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The first of August marks the celebration of World Wide Web Day – a day dedicated to the global network that powers our online activity, creating a wealth of knowledge at our fingertips. The World Wide Web (WWW) has revolutionized the way we communicate, learn, and explore, becoming an integral part of our daily lives. With the importance of the internet only growing stronger, it’s only fitting to honor the World Wide Web with a special day of commemoration. But with the internet comes risks, and it’s important to make sure your family is protected from potential threats. Here are some tips and tricks to keep your family safe online. 

1. Phishing Scam Protection

Phishing scams are a type of fraud that involves sending emails or other messages that appear to be from a legitimate source. The goal of these messages is to trick users into providing personal information such as passwords, credit card numbers, and bank account details. To protect against phishing scams, teach your family to:  

  • Be suspicious of any emails or messages that look suspicious, even if they appear to come from a legitimate source.
  • Verify the source of any email or message before responding.
  • Never provide any personal information in response to an email or message.

2. Identity Scam Protection

Identity theft is a crime in which someone uses another person’s personal information to commit fraud or other crimes. Teach your family to protect against identity theft by:  

  • Being aware of what personal information they share online.
  • Using secure passwords for all accounts.
  • Regularly monitoring their credit reports.

3. VPN Protection

A virtual private network (VPN) is a type of technology that provides a secure connection to a private network over the internet. A VPN can help protect your family’s online activity by encrypting the data and hiding your online activity from others. To ensure your family’s online safety, teach them to:  

  • Use a reliable VPN service.
  • Always connect to a VPN when accessing public Wi-Fi networks.
  • Be aware of the country or region in which their VPN service is located.

4. Password Protection

Strong passwords are an important part of online security. Teach your family to create strong passwords and to never share them with anyone. Additionally, use a password manager to store and manage your family’s passwords. A password manager can help by:  

  • Generating secure passwords.
  • Encrypting and storing passwords in a secure, central location.
  • Automatically filling in passwords on websites.

To conclude, celebrations on World Wide Web Day allow us to give thanks for the incredible world of knowledge, commerce, entertainment, communication, and innovation that the internet has provided, and continues to provide for us all. By following these tips and tricks, your family can stay safe online and enjoy all the benefits of the internet. Happy World Wide Web Day! 

The WWW has enabled us to achieve so many things that were simply impossible before. From the ability to catch up with friends and family across the globe to finding information about virtually any topic, the power of the internet is remarkable. In fact, the World Wide Web has significantly enriched our lives in countless ways. 

Did you know that the first-ever image posted on the World Wide Web was a photo of Les Horribles Cernettes, a parody pop band founded by employees at CERN? It was uploaded in 1992 by Sir Tim Berners-Lee, who used a NeXT computer as the first-ever web server. And although we use the term “surfing the net” regularly, do you know who actually coined the phrase? A librarian by the name of Jean Armour Polly wrote an article titled “Surfing the Internet” in the Wilson Library Bulletin at the University of Minnesota in 1992. 

There are many other remarkable facts about the World Wide Web, including its growth over the years. By the start of the year 1993, there were only 50 servers worldwide, but that number had grown to over 500 by October of the same year. Advances in data compression enabled media streaming to happen over the web, which was previously impractical due to high bandwidth requirements for uncompressed media. Although the number of websites online was still small in comparison to today’s figure, notable sites such as Yahoo! Directory and Yahoo! Search were launched in 1994 and 1995, respectively, marking the beginning of web commerce. 

On World Wide Web Day, you can celebrate by exploring the capabilities of the internet and discovering how it has changed over the years. Many organizations worldwide host events featuring conversations and interviews with technology leaders, entrepreneurs, and creators. There are also different talks, activities, and discussions online that you can join, allowing you to delve deeper into the history and potential of the World Wide Web. You could even consider running an event at your local business to market the day and celebrate what WWW has done for us all! 

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