Sixty-five Australians have started the first international Black Dog Ride in the USA.
They are riding 7000km from New York to LA, visiting 18 cities in 21 days to kick start conversations about suicide prevention.
Black Dog Ride founder and BMW rider Steve Andrews says they will be riding hired Harley-Davidson Touring bikes.
He says their mission in America is to engage US military veterans and first responders (Firefighters, Police, Paramedics) in conversations around suicide prevention.
Due to the nature of their work, US Military Veterans and First Responders are at high risk for developing depression, anxiety and PTSD, and they subsequently have a tragically high rate of suicide, he says.
Black Dog Ride is partnering with Mental Health First Aid USA to raise awareness and funds for Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) training scholarships for military veterans and first responders.
Of course, Winston the well-known furry mascot for Black Dog Ride, is also along for the ride. You can track Winston and his Black Dog Rider’s location every single day across their 7000km ride to raise awareness of depression and suicide prevention throughout the USA.
The annual Australian Black Dog Ride finished last month with about 350 riders and about 50 pillions raising more than $300,00 to bring the seven-year total to more than $2 million. Funds raised go to Lifeline and Mental Health First Aid.
The American ride is the first international event and Steve says there has been interest from other countries including the UK and New Zealand.
Meanwhile, if you want to help the 2015 Black Dog Ride across America, you can donate in $US to help fund MHFA scholarships for military veterans and first responders.