Black Dog Ride Reflections on 2016

As 2016 winds down, I take time to reflect on the past year. I look back upon the past 12 months and feel pride in the way Black Dog Ride has positively impacted so many people and communities across Australia.

Early 2016 saw over 7,000 riders from 34 regions in every state and territory of Australia saddle up simultaneously for suicide prevention during Black Dog Ride's 1 Dayer 2016, kickstarting vital conversations around mental health nationally.

The seventh year since the inaugural Black Dog Ride saw 300 Black Dog Riders embark on seven intra-state rides, engaging hundreds of regional communities to initiate conversations around depression and suicide prevention. Dozens of schools enjoyed the company of Black Dog Riders during our memorable visits to talk to youth about mental health and who could forget the the sight of the Victorian Riders in their Fresian cow onesies riding through dairy country in support of the dairy farmers and their communities. Thousands of community members were touched and inspired by the journey of hundreds of Black Dog Riders undertaking such a meaningful tour of the heartlands of Australia with our life saving conversations around suicide prevention.

This year the Defence Tour De Dune headed off road on a two week odyssey through the Simpson Desert to highlight suicide prevention within the ADF, and the Black Dog Ride Around the Fire saw 300 riders visit fire ravaged regions of WA to provide hope amidst recovery. The very first USA 1 Dayer was launched, with four legs and hundreds of riders starting a new two wheeled tradition in North America.

2016 also saw Black Dog Ride participate in more agricultural shows and cattle auctions to foster mental health awareness amongst our regional friends. Dozens of Black Dog Riders were trained in Mental Health First Aid by our very own Instructors. Throughout the the year, Black Dog Riders organisised hundreds of sausage sizzles, fundraising events and mental health awareness displays to support the cause. Numerous community forums and developing new partnerships with mental health charities round out a fulfilling and productive year for Black Dog Ride.

Thanks to the passion and dedication of Black Dog Ride's staff and volunteers during 2016, Black Dog Ride has been able to distribute over $360,000 to 30 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 about suicide prevention, and our mission to raise awareness of depression and suicide prevention is being amplified in hundreds of communities around the nation.

It is with sincere appreciation that I thank every single volunteer, rider, supporter, sponsor and staff member of Black Dog Ride for making 2016 such a successful year.

Steve Andrews
Founder, Black Dog Ride
December 2016

"I suffer with the black dog. My dad lost his battle with the black dog 3 years ago. He loved motorbikes. You riders are AWESOME and raising awareness means a lot to me!"

"I lost my husband to suicide 15 months ago. I cannot begin to tell you all how much this all meant to me."

"This is awesome. Thank you to all involved. I will forever support this cause."

"Thanks to each one of you from someone paralysed by the black dog...You are making a difference."

"You guys all do a fantastic job. I myself suffer with it too. Keep up the great job everyone."

"From a sufferer of the black dog and anxiety for the last 20yrs I can't thank Black Dog Riders enough for bringing the much needed attention to such a debilitating disease."

"Thank you...for making public aware of "the black dog" from someone who lives with someone who deals with everyday..."

"I have seen first hand the courage, dedication and strength of the Black Dog Ride family in the face of adversity. The message we share is bigger than all of us. Ride on, my friends!"

"I am almost completely house bound sufferer and cannot express how much I appreciate the awareness you are creating. Thank you thank you thank you."