JUNE 26, 2015 – More than 6,000 riders of all ages took part in Canada’s largest community bike ride for mental health on Father’s Day.
(Toronto, ON) This Father’s Day, more than 6,000 mental health supporters took part in the Canadian Mental Health Association’s (CMHA) Ride Don’t Hide charity bike ride, raising more than $1.1 million for mental health programs and services. All Ride Don’t Hide funds raised locally will go towards mental health programs within the local communities.
Now in its fourth year, the ride took place in 27 communities throughout the country, making it Canada’s largest community bike ride for mental health.
Ride Don’t Hide ambassadors and dignitaries including Lieutenant Governor of Ontario Elizabeth Dowdeswell, Olympic bronze medallist and Canadian cyclist, Gillian Carleton and former NHL goaltender, Curtis Sanford, championed their local rides – many with their own personal mental health story,
“The Ride Don’t Hide movement is about opening up the dialogue about mental health and reducing the discrimination and stigma associated with mental illness so people feel free to seek the support they need,” says Peter Coleridge, National CEO, CMHA. “It’s so great to see thousands of Canadians taking part in the event to support those they love who are living with mental health issues. We hope the movement will continue to grow exponentially in the coming years.”
The Ride Don’t Hide movement began with Michael Schratter, a Canadian teacher living with bipolar disorder who has spent his whole life educating the public about mental health. In 2010, he spent almost a year and a half cycling around the world and across Canada to share his story and empower others to help break the mental illness stigma, one pedal at a time. His incredible journey touched people all over the world, and has become a national movement that is both raising funds and breaking the stigma around mental illness. “Ride Don’t Hide for me has always been about dispelling the stigma around mental illness and empowering others to come out of the dark,” says Michael Schratter, founder and national ambassador of Ride Don’t Hide. “Never in my wildest dreams could I have imagined Ride Don’t Hide would be what it is today. To see these 6,000 people come out and ride, and show each other there’s nothing to be ashamed of, that’s what Ride Don’t Hide is all about.”
In any given year, one in five Canadians, or approximately seven million Canadians, experience a mental health problem or illness, but only one third will seek help – often due to the discrimination and stigma around mental illness. What they may not realize is mental illness can be effectively treated and they don’t need to feel shame for having the illness. Any communities and organizations interested in hosting Ride Don’t Hide events in their region next year should contact Megan Brown at megan.brown [at] cmha [dot] bc [dot] ca.
CMHA is still accepting donations online at www.ridedonthide.com or through its local branches. Contact 1-800-555-8222 for more information.