To put it simply — mental health issues are common. Many of us know the statistic that at least one in five Canadians experiences a mental illness or addiction problem in a given year. Not to mention one in two persons will experience mental illness in their lifetime. And yet, stigma over mental illness remains just as prevalent. That’s why events such as Ride Don’t Hide matter.
The goal of the annual community bike ride, run, and walk (hosted by the Canadian Mental Health Association) is to raise mental health awareness while simultaneously raising funds to support local mental health programming. This year’s ride — which takes place in Newmarket, Ont., on Sunday, June 24 — coincides with the 100th anniversary year of CMHA, making it one you’ll want to check out!
“I think there’s a tremendous amount of work to be done on awareness and breaking down the stigma (of mental illness),” says Mel Thompson, a York Region resident who helped get the wheels rolling on the Greater Toronto edition of Ride Don’t Hide. “I work hard to raise funds and get corporate sponsors involved. But at the end of the day, this is far more relevant to mental health awareness and breaking the stigma that affects mental illness. So, that’s why we participate. My family and I experience the stigma of mental illness on an ongoing basis.”