Defence Tour De Dune
Riding the Desert Dunes
for Suicide Prevention
On Monday 25th July, Petty Officer Sean Blacklock of HMAS Adelaide, along with a small team of his Defence mates, will start their journey to cross the Simpson Desert on motorcycles to raise awareness of suicide prevention amongst their ADF colleagues.
Sean's an avid motorbike rider, and says their objective is a perfect fit with Black Dog Ride's mission to raise awareness of depression and suicide prevention. Their ride from Sydney through the desert is called the Defence Tour De Dune.
The catalyst for organising the Defence Tour De Dune was hearing about suicides within the ADF. Sean said, "The Royal Australian Navy released a document showing the alarming rate of ADF suicide rates, 50% of which come from the RAN alone, manifesting from depression and other mental health issues. I saw the document and immediately needed to do something about it."
Around half of those in the ADF who take their lives are Royal Australian Navy personnel, and by undertaking this arduous off road ride, the Defence Tour De Dune team aim to inspire both Naval and all Defence personnel to reach out for support when in crisis.
Their objective to start conversations around mental health which could be the impetus to reaching out for help has already born fruit, with Black Dog Ride being named one of HMAS Adelaide's Charities of Choice.
Sean and his colleagues will cross Simpson Desert west to east along the French Line on motorcycles over 16 days, departing Maroubra on Monday and staying at Cobar on the first night followed by Broken Hill the next evening, then they ride off-road through South Australia, Queensland and back into NSW over 16 long days.
The Defence Tour De Dune has raised over $1000 so far amongst their friends, and aims to raise over $2000 to support Black Dog Ride's nationwide suicide prevention projects. This includes funding the training of personnel on HMAS Adelaide in Mental Health First Aid. The MHFA training will arm Defence personnel with the tools to identify and respond appropriately to a mental health crisis amongst their colleagues, which will ultimately prevent suicide.
People can show their support for Defence Tour De Dune by donating here or by texting DEFENCE to 0437-371-371. Donations over $2 are tax deductible.
If you want to contact or catch up with the Defence Tour De Dune Team, contact Sean Blacklock by email here or by texting 0407-084-840 **UPDATE** While they're en route in the regions, Sean's contact number will be: 0499-173-914