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The success achieved by a group of friends riding old posite bikes from Strathalbyn to Darwin has made a lot of people sit up and take notice.
The trip has so far raised almost $60,000 for the beyondblue organisation and the riders have helped lessen the stigma often associated with mental health in their local community … and all the way to the Top End.
And all this has been achieved under the guise of having a good time, although rattling up the Oodnadatta Track on a postie bike might be viewed by some as an acquired taste!
Undoubtedly there was a lot of hard work to organise the trip and make it run smoothly, but the sheer audacity of pitting second-hand Australia Post delivery bikes against the might of the Australian outback resonated with the wider public and was a major factor in its astounding fundraising success.
Turning around public attitudes is no easy task but the issue of seeking assistance for mental health problems has been remarkably successful.
Untreated mental health problems can tragically result in suicide and the most recent statistics show that 2500 Australians took their own lives in 2012 – almost 1900 males and 634 females.
Suicide kills twice as many Australian as road accidents.
Organisations such as beyondblue and Lifeline now have a growing band of advocates – such as these young men who rode to Darwin – to spread the word and deliver the message to their peers that it’s okay to ask for help.
It is normal to seek professional assistance when you’re unwell.
Feeling sad, depressed or unmotivated is no different to feeling sick in the stomach or having a pain in your foot.
Today’s society is more willing to confront mental health without attaching a social stigma and the general community has never been more alert to the signs that could indicate all is not well with a friend.
There are a host of ways the community is helping to spread the word about this issue and today’s edition of The Courier also features a story about a comedy festival planned for Strathalbyn to further the cause.
Together our communities can make a difference and soon we won’t have to do wacky stunts to capture people’s attention.