Students at Wodonga's Victory Lutheran College shared a colourful message of hope and support on Thursday's R U OK? Day, in a bid to remove the stigma around mental health.
School captains Tom Goyne, 18, Chloe Hudson, 17, Sophie Knight, 18, and Jacob Moffat, 18, said the event was a fun way to bring the school community together.
"It really brings the whole community together, the high school and primary school children, it shows a good community spirit," Sophie said.
Jacob said getting to know the younger students allowed the senior students to look out for them.
"R U OK? Day is not just about asking your mates but also about asking children in the yard," Jacob said.
"If they're seeing older kids [today] because then it's a familiar face.
"It's about checking in with everyone not just your year level."
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The national day of action is dedicated to raising awareness of suicide prevention and reminding people to check in with those around them. Organiser Libby M'Crystal said despite the serious messages of suicide prevention and mental health awareness, it was important R U OK? Day was fun for the students.
She said the relaxed, fun approach made talking about mental health less intimidating.
"We've made it a celebration to remove the stigma around checking in and saying 'are you doing okay'," she said. "We talk about the message but including it in a fun celebration makes it less embarrassing to ask R U OK? tomorrow as well."
Chloe said the fun around the R U OK? Day colour run made the whole day, and talking about mental health in general, less scary.
The college hosted a sausage sizzle, face painting and colour fun run, as well as having an assembly which focused on the four steps involved in asking R U OK?: asking, listening, encouraging, and checking in.
Jacob said a student committee of 30 people from year 6 to 12, helped organise the day.
"It's about going to that bit extra effort, it's easy to ask are you okay, but it's important to check in," he said.
The school also had an information stand for students to access resources around R U OK? Day.
School councillor Sacha Markham said it was important children felt they could speak and be heard.
"It's really important and helps people have a voice and not fly under the radar," she said. "Given mental health and mental illness is on the rise it highlights the importance of asking the question."
For more information visit https://www.ruok.org.au or call Lifeline on 13 11 14.