When did you last ask “Are you OK?”

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Community events are a great chance to check in with people, says Izzy Anwell of Dorset Mind, as she reminds us to always ask twice
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Jubilee imminent, much of the UK is gearing up and preparing for the festivities that come with such a special occasion. Whether you are making a cake for your local street party, fighting with an old gazebo or simply watching the celebrations on the TV, you and thousands of other people across the UK and beyond have a shared interest.
It is events such as these that bring communities together; that give neighbours something to talk about over the garden fence or in the streets. But it is also at events such as these where we can notice if someone isn’t quite themselves.

One in four
We know that one in four people experiences a diagnosable mental health problem each year, which roughly equates to 16 million people across the UK. From this statistic, it is clear that you are likely to know someone in your community who is suffering in silence and could use your support.
Dorset Mind actively encourages open discussion about mental health. Events like the Queen’s Jubilee can be a vessel to reinforce this message and spread it even to the most rural and isolated of communities, of which we have several in Dorset.
It is true when people say that a little help goes a long way.
Even if it is muffled through a mouthful of cake or drowned out by a chorus of celebratory cheers, posing the seemingly insignificant question “Are you OK?” can go a long way to make someone feel less isolated and really make a difference.
The power of this small gesture is often underestimated. It could be all that is needed to start a conversation. However, others may need a second gentle push to get them talking, and that’s why it is important to always ask twice. You’ll always get the truth the second time around.

Reach out and check in
Although mental health is still steeped in stigma, it’s important to remember that the condition of our mental health sits hand in hand with our physical health and can impact how we live our day-to-day lives.
Let’s not just celebrate this event for what it says it is on the local Facebook page – let’s use it as an opportunity to reach out and check in on others.

If you are struggling to cope, please talk to your GP. If you’re in a crisis, treat it as an emergency. Call 999 immediately or The Samaritans, FREE on 116 123.
Dorset Mind offers one-to-one and group support that can help with your wellbeing. We aim to reduce stigma by normalising conversations about mental health for both adults and young people from 11+.
We also offer education and workplace training.

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