ELG and Lifeline Shanghai are partnering up to provide some essential guidance and workshops for schools this year!
What is Lifeline Shanghai?
Lifeline Shanghai serves the English-speaking community of Shanghai and China, by providing free, confidential, and anonymous emotional support via telephone ((021) 6279 8990), WeChat, and online chat, 365 days a year, 10:00 am – 10:00 pm. The helpline offers an emotional support service that respects everyone’s right to be heard, understood, and cared for.
Lifeline Shanghai is a highly respected essential community service, working closely with mental health professionals, organizations, community services, schools, colleges and medical providers to raise awareness of the importance of mental health and fight the stigma in talking about it through programs like R U OK?
R U OK?
The R U OK? campaign is a highly proactive suicide awareness and prevention campaign which was originally started in Australia by a public health organization.
The aim of R U OK? is to create a world where everyone feels safe, connected, and protected from suicide. Suicide and suicide prevention are complex and sensitive issues, but the R U OK? campaign strives to generate conversations that allow people a safe space to express how they feel.
In a workshop setting, the R U OK? program teaches people the essential skills for having meaningful conversations with people they are concerned about. In addition to the workshops, there is a free curriculum for teachers to use to create a supportive environment at school, where school communities are empowered to look out for one another.
The best thing about the R U OK? program is that it is simple, and can be adapted by students or adults to suit the needs of their community. The program works best when community leaders take this on in creative ways, such as the creation of clubs, training, activities and awareness events, aimed to improve their community response to mental health challenges.
R U OK? reminds us that support can come from anyone who is prepared to truly listen, because a conversation can change a life. It starts by asking the simple question: Are you okay?
In 2016, Lifeline Shanghai launched R U OK? in Shanghai and began hosting R U OK? training workshops in the community. These workshops teach individuals and community groups the skills in having meaningful conversations. Participants have commented that these workshops have helped them to be “more capable of listening and being present” and “it’s one of the most useful workshops I’ve attended”.
Lifeline Shanghai has also held an annual R U OK? Day in 2016 and 2017, raising awareness about suicide prevention and offering workshops related to mental health. In 2017, ELG joined R U OK? Day with co-founder and manager director Monte Rosen hosting a teen panel, “Where the Adults Listen,” with students from international and bilingual schools.
In a joint initiative, Lifeline Shanghai and ELG also invited schools in the city to take part in an art competition for R U OK? Day 2017, using the theme: “A Conversation Could Change a Life”. High school winner, Elizabeth Chen from Concordia International School Shanghai, interned at ELG, bringing her fantastic design skills to a professional environment!
Student workshops are available for adolescents age 12 to 18. Topics include how to identify if someone is not okay (including physical effects of mental health issues), how to communicate and address concerns directly, and how to find additional help.
Student leader workshops empower the leaders to design a plan that they can directly implement to impact the wider student body.
Teacher workshops focus on understanding mental health needs and implementing a school prevention plan, including learning how to run student workshops themselves.
School leader and counselor workshops will dive into learning about children’s mental health issues and clinically recommended intervention and support options. They will also analyze their school’s ethos and language around mental health, before looking at preventative approaches, including R U OK?
Parent workshops address two key topics: 1) understanding their children and 2) communicating with their children. They will learn about warning signs and how to react in a loving, effective way. Parents will also be encouraged to learn and participate in R U OK? initiatives in their children’s school.
Schools that show a commitment to creating a supportive community through their participation will be given the status of “R U OK? School China”.
Looking forward to 2018-2019
This year, Lifeline Shanghai have joined with ELG as their official partner for the R U OK? School campaign. Strengthening their collaboration, they will offer a specialized selection of workshops for schools to host for students, student leaders, parents, and teachers.
Through working together and combining the strengths of both Lifeline Shanghai and ELG, the workshops will:
Educate, empower, and motivate school communities to have meaningful conversations.
Prevent mental health crises and increase well-being and connection within school communities.
Offer clear, practical guidance on how to safely address mental health needs and crises when they arise.
Provide support and necessary materials and skills so that partnering schools can sustain stand-alone programs, such as student clubs and awareness events.
Save the date!
On Saturday November 3, 2018, Lifeline Shanghai will be hosting Shanghai’s Third Annual R U OK? Day. This year, it promises to be bigger and better than ever before, with even more hands-on workshops from amazing professionals to support your mental health.
For more information about the R U OK? Schools Program and R U OK? Day 2018, make sure to follow Lifeline Shanghai and ELG on WeChat!