Photo: Tinsae Teshoma
Tinsae Teshome is a 20-year-old Ethiopian Australian studying Behavioural Science at Notre Dame University, Fremantle. She worked in the space of mental health advocacy through her reign as Miss Africa Perth in 2019, where she curated the Seeking Solutions project. This involved her hosting interactive panel discussions focusing on sharing solutions to differing mental health-related topics.
“For me, being asked ‘are you OK’ when I was at a low point was intimidating and foreign because I hadn’t been used to the vulnerable feeling that I felt when answering honestly”, says Tinsae.
“It was those three words that began my self-reflection and realisation of how not so OK I truly was.”
Tinsae feels that RU OK Day is a reminder of all the people in her life that have supported her and continue supporting her when she is struggling with her mental wellbeing.
“It is a reminder for me to check in on those around me and also to check in on how I am doing. It is a reminder to us all to remove the stigma around vulnerability in relation to mental health, and not see it as a weakness but rather as strength.
Tinsae sees RU OK day as an educational tool.
“I attended RU OK day activities at Notre Dame University last year and appreciated how informative and beneficial this day was in increasing my awareness of the many different ways there are available to find help.
“It is important when asking someone if they are OK, that we are informed on ways to support them, too. There is more to say after you ask ‘RU OK?’, but knowing how to approach this question is also important … so I advise everyone to try and attend RU OK Day activities near you and have a look at what’s on the RU OK site!”
Check out the resources available on the RU OK website https://www.ruok.org.au/join-r-u-ok-day .