Every couple of days, Sunrise weatherman Sam Mac gets asked the same question: “What’s that on your wrist?”
For 12 whole months, the Channel 7 star has been sporting a yellow wristband during his TV crosses, and now he’s revealed to news.com.au what it’s all about.
“Last year on R U OK? we were covering it on Sunrise and I wore my yellow wristband which has the R U OK? website written on it,” Sam said.
“Initially it was more of a reminder to myself to be more in tune with mental health conversations and to remind myself that you never really know what someone is going through. Just seeing that wristband in the corner of my eye keeps me in check with that and keeps me alert to chatting to people about those kinds of topics.”
But the wristband has had a bigger flow-on benefit, Sam told news.com.au.
“So many people watch our show and every couple of days someone will write to me on social media or ask me face-to-face, ‘What is that yellow wristband?’” he said.
“Some people knew it was R U OK? so it was a bit of an ice breaker and they felt comfortable to have a chat about mental health with me … and some people thought it was the Lance Armstrong Livestrong wristband which it’s absolutely not,” Sam laughed.
“It’s such a tiny thing but it’s meant a lot.”
R U OK? day is a cause close to Sam’s heart after the death of radio star Richard Marsland in 2008.
“I lost a friend to his battle with mental health over a decade ago. I remember so clearly the feeling when I got the call about Richard. It’s such a sharp, vivid memory and almost instantly I remember wanting to do something to help in that space,” Sam said.
“I got involved with R U OK? and my mission is pretty simple – to make people understand that there is support and that talking about it is a healthy thing.”
Today is R U OK? Day. Use these four steps and have a conversation that could change a life:
1. Ask R U OK?
3. Encourage action
4. Check in
You can check out more info on the R U OK website.