MANY people bring out the plastic skeletons for Halloween, but a new campaign aims to use the day to draw attention to bones that are still in human bodies.
Musculoskeletal Australia (MSK) wants October 31 to also become known as Rattle Ya' Bones Day. It is launching a public awareness campaign to draw attention to musculoskeletal conditions which affect muscles, bones and joints.
There are 7 million Australians of all ages and backgrounds living with musculoskeletal conditions. The campaign will aim to shine a light on the difficulties they face.
One of those Australians is Sophie Thompson, who is just 29 and battling rheumatoid arthritis.
Sophie said one of the biggest challenges she faced was a lack of understanding or empathy from others.
"You look well when you have rheumatoid arthritis, you don't look sick," she said.
"I'm quite active, I like wearing makeup, I like doing my hair - I actually look particularly healthy."
"It can be really hard to have people, through no fault of their own, understand that you're facing something challenging."
Suffering in silence
A report from Musculoskeletal Australia's 2020 national consumer survey revealed people with musculoskeletal conditions often felt invisible.
According to the survey, 66 per cent of respondents said they kept to themselves and often avoided contacting friends and family when they felt unwell.
In addition, 45 per cent said they were unable to make firm commitments to socialise.
Musculoskeletal Australia chief executive Rob Anderson said nobody should "just have to live with" their musculoskeletal condition.
"Musculoskeletal Australia wants people to know that help and support is available," he said.
The Rattle Ya' Bones Challenge
Musculoskeletal Australia is asking Australians to support the initiative by participating in the Rattle Ya' Bones Challenge.
The challenge calls on people to share videos of themselves dancing on social media. Participants can download music from the initiative's website.
They can use the site's digital photo booth to capture the footage. Alternately, they can record footage on their phone cameras and post straight to social media using the hashtags #rattleyaboneschallenge and #mskaware.
People can also show support by posting a short video on socials, letting people know they are supporting the day and where to access information and support.
Pharmacy Alliance and Pharmacy Guild will support the day by encouraging their member and community pharmacies, staff and customers to participate and spread the word.
For information and support on muscle, bone and joint conditions call 1800-263-265. For more information about the initiative click here.