There was one question students were encouraged to ask each other on Thursday - 'are you OK?' September 14 marks R U OK Day?; an annual national event that promotes positive mental health and wellbeing. The day action is a reminder that every day is a day to meaningfully ask friends, family, and colleagues, if they are OK. In 2023, the message is 'I'm here to hear'. It may be a simple question that can start a conversation with someone who may be struggling. R U OK? Day was founded in 2009 by Gavin Larkin, whose father died by suicide in 1995. Mr Larkin, who died of non-Hodgkin's lymphoma in 2011, wanted to spare other families the grief his family endured. The Suicide Prevention Australia September 2023 Community Tracker shows that 29 per cent of respondents know someone, directly or indirectly, who has died by or attempted suicide in the previous 12 months while one in seven report having experienced suicidal behaviour in the same period. For the fifth quarter running, cost-of-living and personal debt remained the number one issue driving distress. At Moorefield Girls High School Kogarah, students hosted activities to support mental health initiatives. The student representative council stepped up as leaders to their junior peers, emphasising wellbeing among the girls. They hosted an assembly and participated in a friendly competitive Newcombe ball tournament against their teachers, all while raising money for mental health. A highlight was the 'cuppa, cake and chat', where parents were invited to the school in the morning to connect with community agencies that support families. The school's Community Engagement Officer Rebecca Stewart, said the day was an important reminder to students to look after each other. "We certainly believe this is a very important day as mental health concerns continue to be on the rise across our society and sometimes a conversation could change a life," she said. Principal Natalie Hale said the school was proud to host the event, which brought families together. "We hosted a morning tea for parents and carers at our Frangipani Cafe, where they were offered free coffee, cake and conversation," she said. "It was also an opportunity to meet other parents within the school community. "We will be providing parents and carers with a flyer, listing local services for those in need of extra support, whether that be financial assistance or mental health related." Acting Deputy Principal Nick Tcaciuc, said the day was about listening and advising a course of action. "It promotes and encourages us to ask a question like 'How are you travelling' or 'You don't seem yourself lately - want to talk about it?'" he said. Support is available for those who may be distressed. Phone Lifeline 13 11 14; Mensline 1300 789 978; Kids Helpline 1800 551 800; beyondblue 1300 224 636; 1800-RESPECT 1800 737 732.