The Australian Farmer
Lions Clubs of Australia have been great supporters of Black Dog Ride since it's inception in July 2009.
But this year one of their members at Wudinna, SA, won't be there to greet us as we ride through town. He took own his life last week after a silent struggle with depression.
Mick was a farmer. He knew the bone deep connection with working the land, the isolation, the trials and tribulations of the bad years, the invigoration and pride of the good years. Mick also knew the overwhelming despair of losing your farm.
A few days before he took his life, Mick spoke to Steve Andrews and seemed upbeat. His friends within his Club didn't see it coming either. Mick didn't seek help and he kept his battle with depression within himself, until it overcame him with tragic results.
This is the reason we Ride to the Red Centre.
Amidst our excitement in the lead up to this annual Ride, this tragedy is a reminder of what we Black Dog Riders do, and why we do it. To start the conversation of depression awareness and prevent the tragic outcome of silence when trying to battle depression aline. Black Dog Riders seek to normalise depression, encouraging people and communities to feel comfortable and safe in reaching out for a helping hand when they need it.
Black Dog Riders are visiting Wudinna this morning. If there is anything positive from this very sad story it is the words of Mick's friend and fellow Lions Club member Marlene: "The Ride has a lot more meaning for our community so am very glad we are supporting it."
It is poignant that the Lions of Wudinna will now have someone at their famous Granite Sculpture of The Australian Farmer.