Black Dog Ride Reflections on 2015
As we approach the finale of 2015, we take time to reflect on the past year. Black Dog Riders can look back upon the past 12 months and feel pride in the way our Black Dog Ride family has positively impacted so many people and communities across Australia.
2015 saw nearly 7,000 riders from 33 regions in every state and territory simultaneously get on their bikes for the Black Dog Ride 1 Dayer, amplifying our message of depression and suicide prevention awareness in countless communities.
The sixth year since I set off on the inaugural Black Dog Ride saw 550 Black Dog Riders join us on the road to the Red Centre, with 400 Black Dog Riders uniting at Uluru under the starlit central Australian sky for the very first time. We were honoured to share a community breakfast with the Mutitjulu community, yarning together in the shadow of their ancient sacred monolith. The participation of all Black Dog Riders helped us reach the heartlands of Australia with our life saving conversations around suicide prevention.
Not long after our return from the Red Centre, 65 Black Dog Riders set off on the inaugural Black Dog Ride across America. Riding on Harley's through bustling NYC to the breathtaking Blue Ridge Parkway and bright lights of New Orleans, enjoying heartwarming hospitality in Texas and Arkansas, culminating in an awesome escort through LA, the Ride was unforgettable. Our impact in the USA has led to the first international Black Dog Ride 1 Dayers being organised for 2016, expanding the reach of Black Dog Ride's mission to raise awareness of depression and suicide prevention.
2015 also saw Black Dog Ride participate in more agricultural shows in Perth, Mackay, and Dubbo to foster mental health awareness amongst our regional friends. Local schools participated in Black Dog Rider mental health awareness projects and we were also privileged to spend time with regional Indigenous communities to promote suicide prevention strategies. Dozens of Black Dog Riders were trained in Mental Health First Aid by our very own Instructors. Of course, the year would not be complete without the innumerable (and enjoyable!) sausage sizzles held by Black Dog Riders to support the cause! Several community forums and new partnerships with mental health charities have rounded out a fulfilling and productive year for Black Dog Ride.
Black Dog Ride incorporated as a national charity in 2014 to help sustain our work in communities and in 2015, we were able to secure premises for a National Office. This has enabled Black Dog Ride to increase staff, and these dedicated people are vital in helping us work towards Black Dog Ride's ongoing health promotion initiatives. Thanks to the hard work of Black Dog Riders, we were also able to distribute over $400,000 to 25 mental health organisations on the front line of suicide prevention.
This year we have engaged more Australians than ever before, reached around the globe to start conversations in the USA, and our mission to raise awareness of depression and suicide prevention is being amplified in thousands of communities around the nation.
It is with sincere appreciation that we thank every single volunteer, rider, supporter and sponsor of Black Dog Ride for making 2015 such a successful year.
Founder, Black Dog Ride