SSAA National is supporting an important campaign that will get everyday Australians talking about depression and anxiety, while assisting several mental health organisations.
In 2009, Steve Andrews made a solo motorcycle ride around Australia to raise awareness about depression and suicide prevention. Five years later, his movement, the Black Dog Ride, has become a national campaign involving thousands of motorcycle riders who together have raised more than $1.2 million for services such as Lifeline Australia, Mental Health First Aid Australia, Suicide Call Back Service, Lamp Inc and Black Dog Institute, which play a vital role in advocacy, education and crisis support.
Raising awareness about mental health is a subject dear to SSAA National Immediate Past President Dean Mighell’s heart. A keen motorcycle rider himself, Dean has said he has seen many of his workmates in the construction industry struggle with mental health issues.
“The construction industry still has a very blokey culture, and this means a lot of guys find it hard to talk about their feelings,” he said. “Most of us have lost loved ones or mates due to depression. We must tackle this health issue and make it OK to talk about it, especially among blokes.”
Dean will be taking part in the Black Dog Ride Around Australia next month and aims to raise more than $25,000 for the campaign. The ride will leave Bateau Bay in New South Wales on July 26, comprise a full lap of about 14,500km and finish in Sydney on August 26.
“I’m committed to doing the Black Dog Ride to help raise much-needed funds for Lifeline and other essential services for those effected by depression. Importantly, I ride for friends lost and hope that I can do my bit to prevent suicide and help those suffering from the Black Dog to find help.”
Dean will also be covering an additional 1800km in his ride. All costs associated with the ride itself will be borne by him, his accommodation will be what he carries on his bike and he will be self-sufficient for the entire trip. Dean says it will be a big challenge but he is looking forward to doing his bit to ‘fight the black dog’.
This year, all funds donated to the Black Dog Ride will go directly to Lifeline Australia to support its Online Crisis Support chat service and to assist in the roll-out of Mental Health First Aid Australia’s youth course in Australian high schools.
SSAA National has already donated $10,000 to Dean’s Black Dog Ride and is now encouraging all members to get behind the campaign and make a tax-deductible donation where they can.