SURFERS gathered at Scarborough Beach last Thursday for R U OK? Day, which coincided with World Suicide Prevention Day.
OneWave Global Surf community organised the surf event to raise awareness about the stigma surrounding mental health.
Organiser Rowan Shearer said OneWave wanted to send a positive message to the community about mental health.
“Onewave is a not-for-profit surf group that was started over in Bondi; it’s a community of ocean lovers of all kinds,” Mr Shearer said.
“Our aim is to tackle mental health problems like depression and anxiety by raising awareness using the simple recipe of salt water, surfing, good mates and fluoro Fridays.”
The group’s weekly Fluoro Fridays provides a platform for members to voice their issues.
“We start with a sharing circle where everyone can talk openly; we’re trying to make it a normal thing for people to be able to talk about,” Mr Shearer said.
“A lot of the time it’s so easy to get caught up in the hustle and bustle that you forget to actually care about those close to you and connect with them.”
Mental Health Australia chief executive Frank Quinlan said about 2500 Australians committed suicide each year.
“More people die by suicide than on our roads,” Mr Quinlan said.
“Despite this, suicide prevention does not attract anywhere near the same level of public attention or funding.”
Mr Shearer said members of OneWave stuck by the group’s motto ‘one wave is all it takes’.
“One wave is all it takes to get out of a funk or to steer your life in a different direction. You get into the ocean and it’s another world out there, you can just live for the moment,” he said.