Over 80 NSW riders will ride from Dubbo for Darwin to raise awareness of depression and suicide prevention.
“The black dog ride chooses a long distance ride every year, it has been five years since we’ve been to Ayres rock and we’ve always had Darwin on the list,” NSW coordinator Wayne Amor said.
The journey will take the riders seven days to reach Darwin, with pit-stops along the way designed for riders to engage with the community and encourage discussion about mental illness and suicide prevention.
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“Sometimes its a ‘get a dart and throw it on the map’ sort of thing,” Mr Amor said.
“We get a lot of support in the North state, it’s a very popular ride, very open country, people get a long up there”.
“The Black Dog Ride tend to gravitate towards the smaller places, in those areas, we’re staying at really small places like Renner springs.
“We feel the small voice in a small voice is louder than a small voice in a large place,” Mr Amor said.
“If you’ve got 80 or so riders in a place where there’s only 100 people live, there’s some really good opportunity to start some quality conversations and what we’re trying to achieve with raising awareness with depression.”
Mr Amor said riders want people to know ‘there will be somebody to answer the phone, whether it’s Lifeline, Beyond Blue, or a suicide call back line.’
The Black Dog ride has the slogan ‘join the journey … start the conversation’ aimed at tackling stigma around mental illness and suicide.
“It’s something that you see and hear about everyday, it’s in conversations with everyday people you learn somebody’s been touched by it,” Mr Amor said.
“We want to make conversations about it more common place, so people are learning and having those conversations.
“The ride to Darwin is open to all riders that want to come, for a day, for a couple of days. We leave on a Friday in the hopes it makes it a bit easier to get home on the weekend,” Mr Amor said.
Black Dog Riders will gather at the Dubbo Band Rotunda from 8.30am for a community breakfast before they start their journey.
If you or someone you know needs support contact Lifeline on 13 11 14.