Revving up awareness

Caitlyn WattsPilbara News
Postie Bike Adventurers about to take off from Dampier for the Bush Chook ride.
Camera IconPostie Bike Adventurers about to take off from Dampier for the Bush Chook ride.

Two meaningful bike rides took off from the Pilbara this week in a bid to raise money and awareness for those affected by mental health issues.

The Bush Chook Postie Bike Ride was a five-day event that saw 11 riders take off on postie bikes from Dampier, before travelling through Pannawonica, Onslow and Emu Creek Station to Coral Bay.

At Emu Creek Station, the riders painted a tree blue to encourage awareness of mental health.

Bush Chook Postie Bike Ride organiser Alan Morgan said they aimed to raise $7500, but ended up smashing that goal, raising $14,000 for Black Dog Institute.

“The more money we can raise the better. We’ve got 11 guys riding from all around the State and altogether there is going to be 16 of us,” he said.

“We just really want to reduce the stigma on mental health and raise the awareness through our advertising and all the participants with their fundraising.”

On Sunday, Black Dog Ride’s annual one-dayer also kicked off, with more than 25 people riding motorbikes from Karratha to Dampier. Event co-ordinator Joanne Waterstrom-Muller said the event had been running in Karratha for three years.

“I think it’s important that we are making people aware of mental health issues and prevention,” she said.

“It’s all about getting together and having a bit of a chat.

“You pay the registration fee and that money goes back to the Black Dog Ride as a fundraiser. People can apply for grants too.”

The events came as one in five Australians experienced a mental health condition, with eight taking their lives every single day.

Ms Waterstrom-Muller said the Pilbara had been affected significantly by mental health and suicide.

“The Pilbara has been touched by quite a big spate of suicides in previous years. It’s an ongoing thing in regional areas and I think promoting the ride is a national conversation about depression and suicide prevention,” she said.

“In previous years, because everyone was so touched by suicides in town, we had nearly 100 people rock up.”

Lifeline: 13 11 14

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