R U OK? ambassador Mostapha Kourouche visited Forster back in July for the second stop of the organisation's nine-week, nation-wide Trust the Signs Tour.
Organised in the wake of research that found nearly two-thirds of Australians weren't confident they could recognise the signs someone was struggling, the tour was all about equipping the Australian public with the confidence and awareness to start a conversation with someone they were worried about.
Travelling more than 14,000 kilometres and engaging with 24 communities, the tour reached its final destination today in Sydney for R U OK? Day.
But Mostapha still clearly remembers his stop in Forster.
After having a number of meaningful conversations with members of the public, he and his fellow volunteers were approached by a man who was "very distressed and clearly suicidal".
Despite the gravity of the situation, the group were able to talk to the man and organise for an ambulance to take him off to get the treatment he needed.
It was an intense introduction to the issues they were tackling.
Since that day, Mostapha has spoken to people all around Australia, and he believes the conversations that have happened as a result of the tour have been hugely beneficial for everyone involved.
"It has been amazing," he said.
"We met plenty of farmers, plenty of people who were struggling.
"A lot of people really opened up. We were able to have conversations at all different levels."
Importantly, the tour didn't just give those who were struggling the opportunity to have much-needed conversations, it also equipped the broader public with the confidence and awareness to ask those they were worried about if they were okay, which was the main objective.
"It has been an amazing success," Mostapha said.
"People are feeling more confident about identifying the signs."
With R U OK? Day now upon us, Mostapha believes it's important for everybody to do their part to raise awareness and break down the stigmas associated with depression and mental health issues.
"Today is a call to action," he said.
"It's about reminding us that every day is an R U OK? Day."
R U OK? Day is a national day of action dedicated to reminding everyone to ask, "Are you OK?" and to remember every day of the year to support people who may be struggling with life's ups and downs.
To find out more about the R U OK? foundation or to get involved, click here.
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