2020 has been a year of profound significance. Australia has battled bushfires, a pandemic and now enters a recession.

These turbulent events have impacted individuals and families and it's understandable that people are struggling.

Coregas recognises the importance of the role R U OK plays in the pursuit of helping Australians with their mental health. This is a pivotal service that is critical for the welfare of many people. Like many, we encourage the start of the conversation to assist with supporting our peers, colleagues, friends and families. 

In 2020, we were inspired to kick off #HumansofCoregas. An initiative aimed at opening lines of communication and facilitating the purpose of R U OK? Day.

These are some of the stories of the #HumansofCoregas

At the start of the year Victorians had the restrictions due to the fires, then we had floods in those areas. We then went into the COVID-19 pandemic experiencing things we haven’t experienced before in our lifetime, and to top it off, we then experienced water contamination.

For me personally, I had a milestone birthday this year, as did my elderly father. My son had planned to get married in August, that was put off till October, and now not till next year. Spent Father’s day without seeing any of my kids, and my granddaughter celebrated her 4th birthday without any family or friends.

Life seems to be just work and staying home.

The thing that really affected me was hearing that my granddaughter asked her mother why she was having a birthday party with No friends or family to celebrate, imagine being 4 years old and have no one turn up for your birthday!

Certainly a year to put behind us all.

Except for a spike in May, we have been relatively fortunate in Adelaide. In the beginning it was surreal as I’d only just got over a decent case of viral pneumonia. My immune system wouldn’t have been able to fight off a dose of CV. On top of that, my wife has been on immune-suppressant medication for the previous 8 months which left her with no immune system. She wouldn’t fare well at all if she caught it either. My wife self-isolated in our house for a while with minimal contact with the kids and myself, I was the only one leaving the house so I can continue as an essential worker. It was a tough period as our nearest relative is 8.5 hours away. We felt very isolated during the stressful period. One thing I did notice, people near me were polite. When restrictions were in place here and you did need to go out, there wasn’t any scrapping over supplies, if there wasn’t much on the shelves often people would talk to each other. Ultimately people offering to other people that they should take it because they sounded like they needed it more. There was a great sense of community here in my little part of Adelaide, but it grew and mutated into a sense that we’d get through it together if we looked after each other, and I guess that’s what we are being rewarded with now.

In the beginning of COVID we couldn’t see our elderly parents. They became frustrated and restless at not being able to travel anywhere. As soon local travel opened in Qld, they decided to go visiting.

They reached their first destination with no issues. Their next destination was to go to Bundaberg. My uncle met them in Childers so they could follow him back to Bundaberg. He needed to stop at the bakery to pick up afternoon tea for them. He told them to drive straight through the centre of town (a small country town) and wait for him at the water tower.  When he arrived there, my parents were nowhere to be found.

My Uncle drove around, between towns for 4 1/2 hours looking for them but could not find them.

He then contacted us to let us know what had happened.  The police were contacted, and they had patrol cars searching for them both in and around these towns. Still no luck.

At 9.30pm, we were advised by the Police to register them on the missing person's list.  This was one of the most heart-breaking things I have ever had to do. No sleep that night was had by any of us children.

Early the following morning,  we hit the roads early to help with the search.

Mid-morning we received a call from another uncle. My parents had just turned up at his place.  They weren’t even meant to be visiting him!

When we talked to mum on the phone, she couldn't understand what all the fuss was about. She told us it was payback for what we ‘kids did to them when we were teenagers!’ We asked them where they were from midday the day prior to the time they arrived at my uncle’s’ house. They couldn't remember. They only remember pulling into a truck stop to sleep in the car because they were so tired.

When we told them that they were on the missing person's list, my mum’s reply was, ‘oh well, just a couple of more grey hairs for you!’

Moral of the story - always keep in contact with your loved ones to make sure they are ok - you never know what could happen - even if they can't remember what happened!!