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R U OK? Day spokesman says, 'Get out there and enjoy the glorious spring weather!'

Anthony Sharwood, Thursday September 9, 2021 - 15:03 EST

Aya Larkin knows the thrills and dips of the mental health roller coaster as well as anyone, both in his personal and professional life.

Larkin is the brother of the late Gavin Larkin, who founded the R U OK? charity 12 years ago. The initiative to encourage people to have conversations with people dealing with dark times in their lives started after Gavin and Aya's dad, Barry, took his own life at the age of 54.

"Several years later, Gavin was processing his feelings about it, and he decided that he wanted to create a year-round initiative focused on mental health," Aya recalls.

Sadly, Gavin passed away from cancer two years after founding R U OK? Day, but his vision lives on.

R U OK? Day is the focal point, a day of awareness of mental health issues which has gained national recognition.

Image: Behind every cloud there's a ray of sunshine. Source: giografiche via Pixabay.

But true to Gavin's vision, RU OK? operates year-round as a harm prevention charity that encourages people to stay connected, focusing on building the motivation, confidence and skills of help-givers who can initiate meaningful conversations with someone who is struggling with life.

Today, Aya Larkin today is a musician and hotelier, though music was once his main gig, if you'll excuse the pun.

He was quite the rock star back in the day (or funk star at least!), fronting the '90s Aussie urban funk group Skunkhour. The band played to crowds of over 1000 in Europe, Australia and elsewhere. But a bit of bad luck here, a falling out with a record label there, and things eventually crashed back to earth.

Having changed careers (and not by choice) and having lost his dad and brother far too early in life, Aya knows that all of us have times when we need someone to start a conversation with us about our mental wellbeing.

That's what RU OK? is all about.


Image: RU OK? board member (and brother of founder, the late Gavin Larkin). Source:

"I have my moments, like all of us, when I feel inadequate of overwhelmed," he tells Weatherzone. "But there are ways that you can break that cycle, like speaking with somebody in my life about things. Just flagging things with somebody like my wife or my mates.

"Exercise also plays a part. I do try to get active and get the endorphins going."

Here at Weatherzone, we wanted to run a story on RU OK? Day because we know that weather plays a large part in our wellbeing. Obviously the equation is not as simple as go for a walk in the spring sunshine and you’ll feel better. But it definitely helps.

And if you combine meaningful conversations with healthy outdoors activity – even in the limited time and space allowed for such things in Covid lockdown – then you're pretty close to the formula for dealing with dark times.

We hope that RUOK? Day has been going well for you, and that someone meaningful in your life has asked you if you're OK.

However you're feeling, we're sure that Aya Larkin's advice can only help: "Get out and get active in this beautiful part of the world!"

Sound advice. And fortunately, the spring weather is terrific today in most parts of Australia this Thursday. While Perth and Hobart are a little wet, there's always something a little adventurous about throwing on the raincoat and going for a walk.

And the rest of the country? Almost all of it is bathed in glorious early spring sunshine, as the afternoon satellite image shows.

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