KIMBOLTON resident Randal Dell-Spector is jumping on his motorcycle and bracing the cold and elements, from Saturday, August 5 for a good cause.
Mr Dell-Spector is participating in Black Dog Ride, a ride on two wheels that departs from all around Australia and ending in Alice Springs to raise awareness for mental health.
"Most of us have experienced depression or someone close to us committing suicide," he said.
"It's really just about starting the conversation. Recognising that either you've got an issue yourself or one of your friends has an issue.
"Starting the conversation is half the battle. It's knowing where to turn."
Since Thursday, August 4, more than 450 mental health advocates have been departing from around Australia to embark on a ride that could save a life.
Mr Dell-Spector's solo ride will take him from Echuca, through outback NSW and QLD, Mount Isa, and finally to Alice Springs over the course of a week to meet the other riders.
The mental health advocate said he was nervous for the long journey.
"I've never sort of done anything like it before," he said.
"But excited to be travelling along with like minded people, you know, for the greater good.
"It's a great cause."
Mr Dell-Spector is passionate about the Black Dog Ride because of his own experiences of mental health.
"I've been dealing with mental health issues for several years now," he said.
Mr Dell-Spector used to work as a real estate agent in Bendigo.
"We lived fast lifestyles, highly stressed, etc," he said."
"You don't realise until it's too late half the time."
Black Dog Ride was established 2009 in an effort to raise awareness of depression.
It has evolved into a national health promotion charity involving thousands of Australians with lived experience of mental illness and suicidal ideation who aim to prevent suicide.
Black Dog Rides community health projects are amongst the largest of their kind in Australia that are organised, conducted and involve participants with lived experience. The organisation does not receive any government funding.
The money raised during the Red Centre 2022 ride will be used to benefit grassroots community mental health projects throughout Australia.
The organisation has raised more than $3 million so far for mental health and suicide prevention programs nationwide such as Lifeline Australias Crisis Support Chat service.
Black Dog Ride is raising funds to support mental health projects, particularly in regional Australia
Riders will carry the Black Dog Ride Mascot Winston on their bikes a soft toy black dog named after Sir Winston Churchill, who talked about being hounded by the black dog of depression.
"I am looking forward to the ride having travelled the outback many times, but never on a motorcycle, and doing my bit to spread the relevant message to our outlying communities and raising funds for mental health and suicide prevention programs nationwide," Mr Dell-Spector said.
"Black Dog Ride encourages people experiencing mental illness to reach for support to friends and seek assistance from medical practitioners.
"I feel strongly that this is something people especially country people find extremely difficult to do."
If you or anyone you know is in need or crisis please call Lifeline on 131 114,14, Samaritans on 135 247, Suicide Call Back Service on 1300 659 467, Kids Helpline on 1800 55 1800, or MensLine Australia on 1300 789 978
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