Australian Biker Group to Ride Across U.S. for Suicide Prevention Awareness

By Victoria Kim 09/08/15

Black Dog Ride plans to cover 4,350 miles in 21 days.

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An Australian biker group will embark on a 21-day, 4,350-mile journey across the U.S., to raise awareness for depression and suicide prevention.

The motorcyclists, who call themselves the Black Dog Ride, are partnering with Mental Health First Aid USA, a program that teaches people how to identify common mental health problems like depression and post-traumatic stress disorder, and help connect them with support and resources.

“Mental Health First Aid increases people’s noticing skills and encourages them to reach out to those who may not be comfortable asking for help,” said Betsy Schwartz, vice president of public education and speaking initiatives at the National Council for Behavioral Health. “That is powerful. The simple act of reaching out can save lives.”

The Black Dog Ride’s fundraising goal of $200,000 will go towards training first responders and military veterans, who are at high risk for developing depression, anxiety, and PTSD due to the nature of their work, and subsequently have higher rates of suicide.

Sixty-five Black Dog Riders will ride through 19 cities, from New York to Los Angeles, engaging communities and raising awareness for their cause.

Since the inception of the Black Dog Ride in 2009, the group has raised more than $2 million for mental health and suicide prevention services and education programs like Mental Health First Aid, which was first established in Australia.

“We’re excited to do in the United States what we’ve been doing to raise awareness about depression and suicide in Australia for more than five years,” said Steve Andrews, founder of the Black Dog Ride.

“With 1 in 5 Americans suffering from a mental illness, like the depression that took the lives of my mother and my best friend’s wife, Americans should care enough to help raise the $200,000 needed to bolster the efforts of Mental Health First Aid USA,” he added.

The Black Dog Ride’s cross-country tour begins Sept. 13 in New York City and ends October 3 in Los Angeles.

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Victoria is interested in anything that has to do with how mind-altering substances impact society. Find Victoria on LinkedIn or Tumblr