Discover more from The R4R Rag
We asked you 8 questions. Here are all of your answers summarised in 1 response.
Thank you to all the respondents so far, and thank you for the people yet to respond. There were some great insights and some very honest answers, that will no doubt help shape R4R moving forward.
And whilst we’re encouraging more people to respond, we thought we’d summarise all of the answers given so far using the new AI-tool that’s all the rage; ChatGPT. All responses have been anonymous and the below summaries are not weighted towards any answer in particular.
How would you describe R4R to someone else?
R4R is a community-based running and walking program aimed at promoting mental health and combating suicide. It is a welcoming, inclusive and friendly space where people of all fitness levels can participate and meet new people. The runs or walks typically range from 3-6kms and are followed by a drink and a chat. The emphasis is on exercise, socializing and mateship, and it provides an opportunity for individuals to positively impact their mental health through physical movement. The group also raises awareness around suicide and provides support to those in need. It is a fun and uplifting community that is centered around community, connection, and purpose. The group is also a routine breaker, offering an opportunity to step out of one's comfort zone and connect with like-minded individuals.
Acknowledging the goal of R4R as saving one life from suicide, as many times as possible (with as many times as possible equalling a suicide-free ACT), what objectives do you think need to be achieved to accomplish this goal?
Building a supportive network of volunteers and mental health professionals who can provide resources and support to members of the R4R community.
Developing partnerships with other organizations and groups working on suicide prevention, mental health and wellness, and community support.
Offering training and education programs on mental health, suicide prevention, and self-care to members of the R4R community.
Incorporating technology and social media to reach a wider audience and increase engagement and participation.
Fostering a culture of openness and inclusiveness within the R4R community, so that people feel comfortable sharing their experiences and connecting with others.
Evaluating the effectiveness of R4R's initiatives and programs regularly and making changes as needed to better serve the community and achieve its goal.
Keeping the focus on the goal of suicide prevention, and ensuring that R4R's efforts are directed towards this end.
We know we've saved lives. Why do you think R4R has helped save those lives?
It provides a supportive and non-judgmental environment where people can talk about their mental health struggles and receive encouragement, guidance and resources. People feel comfortable and empowered to seek help and support when they are surrounded by like-minded individuals who are also facing similar challenges. The combination of physical activity, social interaction and mental health support creates a powerful and life-saving platform for individuals who are struggling with their mental health.
What are some things R4R did well in its first three years?
Inclusivity and welcoming attitude towards all members, regardless of their running ability.
Spreading awareness about mental health and suicide, and creating a fun and popular outlet for people struggling with these issues.
Building a large, engaged and supportive community.
Consistency and reliability, with three runs every week at different times of the day to accommodate different lifestyles.
Expansion of the sessions to include morning runs and a Wednesday walk to the bridge before the run.
Staying true to its mission and purpose, and remaining down-to-earth and approachable.
Promotion of awareness through social media and branding efforts.
Providing opportunities for members to participate in events like the Gift and City2Surf R4R bus trip.
Promoting consistency, partnerships (such as with The Dock) and growing communications.
Incorporating walking into the program, and offering prizes and incentives to members.
The change of having to walk to the first small footbridge, which encourages members to stop and chat with each other.
Good location and social media presence, which helps in attracting and engaging members.
What are three things R4R could have done better in it's first three years?
Improving communication and making sure information is clear and concise
Providing support for volunteer mental health ambassadors
Promoting writing for resilience as a platform to help with mental health
Establishing a calendar of events with more diversity in activities
Collaborating with other organizations and businesses
Helping new members feel more connected to the group
Creating a non-alcoholic sponsorship option for the runs
Reducing the stigma around being a good runner and making it clear that all levels of fitness are welcome
Establishing a not-for-profit or charity wing to raise funds for mental health initiatives
Starting the runs at an earlier point on the lake concourse to reduce distance.
Improving awareness of the group and its impact.
What should R4R keep doing, at all costs?
R4R should maintain its focus on being a friendly, fun, and inclusive community by staying consistent with its Monday, Wednesday, Friday runs, open to anyone of any ability to walk, run or roll at their own pace and of any distance, free and with no obligations. It should continue promoting its Wednesday run and morning sessions, staying true to its cause and motto and remaining authentic and community-based. It is important to continue talking to people and getting along with them, as well as having post-run activities and reiterating the word that R4R is for anyone, regardless of ability. The group should expand into non-physical community events, and have R4R groups in other parts of town for those who cannot make it to Kingston, and keep its chat prior to running and walking to the first bridge to allow time for people to check in with each other.
Is there anything that R4R should do, that it isn't currently doing?
Exposure and outreach to children and teenagers through speaking engagements at schools to promote suicide prevention and being active with friends
Fundraisers and end-of-year events to bring the community together
Volunteer Mental Health Ambassadors
Outreach to the wheelies and all abilities communities
Encouraging a wider range of perspectives by having women and diverse individuals lead the starting statements
Providing non-alcoholic options on Wednesday events
Collecting more testimonials
Encouraging introverted individuals to participate
Making connections with new members who join alone
Establishing mentor-mentee relationships
Maintaining a register of attendees each week to enhance communication
And lastly, why do you think someone finds themselves in a position where taking their life becomes an considered option?
People find themselves in a position where taking their life becomes an option for a variety of reasons. Some of the common factors include: feeling hopeless and alone, experiencing a lack of support and connection, struggling with mental health issues such as depression, going through traumatic events or life stressors, feeling overwhelmed by life's challenges, and having a sense of helplessness. Other factors can include social isolation, unhealthy habits, financial difficulties, grief, and relationship problems. Some people may also struggle with opening up and seeking help. It's important to remember that every person's situation is unique and complex, and that many factors can contribute to someone considering suicide. It's crucial to be there for people who are struggling, offer support and encourage them to reach out for help.