Chaplains in support of R U OK? Day

This article has photo gallery Published on LEUT Geoff Long (author), ABIS Benjamin Ricketts (photographer)

Location(s): HMAS Kuttabul, NSW

Topic(s): HMAS Kuttabul, Health, Fitness and Wellbeing, Chaplaincy

Senior Chaplain Paul Stuart, left, and Chaplain Jon-Paul Barry cook up a storm on the barbeque to support Defence members for R U OK?Day at HMAS Kuttabul, Sydney. (photo: ABIS Benjamin Ricketts)
Senior Chaplain Paul Stuart, left, and Chaplain Jon-Paul Barry cook up a storm on the barbeque to support Defence members for R U OK?Day at HMAS Kuttabul, Sydney.

There was a little bit of drizzle and plenty of sizzle as HMAS Kuttabul Chaplains manned the barbeques in support of R U OK?Day, which was held nationally on 10 September 2020.

Many Royal Australian Navy units and establishments have embraced the day, but the idea to have a free sausage sizzle was a first for Kuttabul.

Senior Chaplain (Padre) Paul Stuart said that the need to look out for one another’s welfare and well-being was always important, but especially so in 2020 with the bushfire disasters followed by the ongoing COVID-19 situation.

“Of course everyday should be R U OK?Day, where we look out for one another’s welfare and wellbeing, but by supporting the official national day today we can highlight and demonstrate our support for each other,” Senior Chaplain Stuart said.

R U OK?Day was started in 2009 by Gavin Larkin after his dad Barry took his own life, and his desire for Australians to better look out for work-mates and family members’ wellbeing, the annual event took off from there.

The message for the 2020 event is “There’s more to say after R U OK?”, and according to Senior Chaplain Stuart, this year’s theme is equally relevant for Navy people.

“Chaplains and other Navy support agencies are seeing greater numbers come through our doors looking for support with respect to stresses on their relationships, families, work-place, and mobility under COVID-19 restrictions,” he said.

Musician Category Manager Warrant Officer Mark Ham, who took time out with his colleagues to support the initiative and grab a sausage, said that many people in the community had been impacted by mental health issues.

“As Australians we like to say we’re okay, but we need to talk to people and really listen to make sure they are okay.

“R U OK?Day is very important for me because I’ve had direct experience through people I know, but there are many others in the community that have also been impacted,” Warrant Officer Ham said.

COVID-19 precautions on the day were guided by a ‘COVID Marshal’, with social distancing practised by all patrons.

The event was also used to promote the Defence Blood Challenge, which is being held between 1 September and 8 December 2020.