This Is Why We Ride
The mission of Black Dog Ride is to "raise awareness of depression and suicide prevention". What does this actually mean? What effect does awareness raising have upon the community?
Black Dog Ride is a small unfunded grassroots organisation and isn't in the position to offer empirical peer reviewed academic data to answer this question. What we can offer is direct feedback from community members. When Steve Andrews rode around Australia on the first Black Dog Ride Around Australia in 2009, he wanted to raise awareness of depression. He wanted to get people talking, to start the conversation to drag the black dog out of the closet, to "normalise" mental illness and empower people to feel comfortable talking about or seeking help with their own black dog, or supporting family and friends who have a black dog shadowing their lives.
Since then, thousands of riders who share Steve's dedication for raising awareness of depression have joined the 'ride' and amplified the message of awareness around the nation. Whether it's the ride, the riders, or Winston the Black Dog Ride mascot who is the catalyst for starting the conversation about depression awareness, the riders themselves hear countless stories of how a conversation about depression empowered a person to seek help, or to keep moving forward, or to help others in turn. Many Black Dog Riders are themselves examples of the success of raising awareness of depression amongst the community.
Hearing about the lifechanging results of Black Dog Ride's mission to raise awareness of depression never fails to be an inspirational reminder of why we ride.
Below are the words of a woman whose husband was handed a media article about a Black Dog Ride, and she describes in a heartfelt and touching way what impact that simple act had upon their relationship and wellbeing. It is published here with her permission.
When this message came through, we were hip deep in many things, both personally and with BDR, and her words made us stop and appreciate why we were doing what we were doing. Thank you to this woman for her courage in speaking up and allowing us to share her words.
Let us know what you think here.