Every day is 'R U OK' Day for the 50 young Indigenous men at NRL Cowboys House in Townsville.
While the cohort recognised the recent awareness day with a social evening, House manager Gary Cook says the students' social and emotional wellbeing is central to many daily activities and initiatives.
As part of their lives at NRL Cowboys House, the boys are encouraged to:
1. Stay grateful and focus on wellbeing daily: The House Brothers share three things they are grateful for at dinner each day. They access tools that enable positive mental health, including The Resilience Project journal, and Headspace, Kids Helpline, Yarn Safe apps. The House staff also actively promote a healthy lifestyle by providing various exercise and health programs.
2. Seek assistance from their support network: The House Brothers have support from people and groups who know and care about the boys. From football coaches, youth groups, tutors, volunteers, Cowboys players and ambassadors, mentors, Friends of the House, Army personnel and House staff. House Parents are an important support base at the House and are there 24/7.
3. Access specialist support: An in-house psychologist provides advice and referrals to allied health support and other pathways and liaises with school guidance officers or cultural liaison officers.
4. Create a home away from home: The House Brothers are each other's biggest support and will seek assistance from their mates. The boys have their own way of checking in on each other, by asking 'r u ok', 'how are you', 'you 'right', 'tell someone', 'what ya happy for' or 'who made ya smile today'? Home can also come to them when they need it most, with the House arranging the family to travel from their community to support the boys at school and at the House.
5. Experience educational support: There are around 40 volunteer tutors who provide one-on-one support to the boys, giving them the support they need to confidently approach their school work and their individual goals.
Support is offered in many different forms to the boys residing at the House, and a culture of gratitude and resilience is encouraged by staff.
NRL Cowboys House provides supported accommodation for young Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students from some of North Queensland's most remote and educationally disadvantaged communities, enabling them to access quality secondary education opportunities in Townsville.