The eighth annual Black Dog Ride to raise awareness of mental health issues takes a different twist this year with separate rides in each state and the Northern Territory.
It all started in 2009 when founder Steve Andrews rode around the country to raise awareness of suicide prevention after a friend’s suicide. Steve raised a lot of awareness and $34,000 for the Suicide Call Back Service.
Over the next four years, riders in each state left their capital city and headed to the Red Centre for annual Black Dog Rides.
In 2014, Steve shook up the usual formula with a lap around the continent. The BDR returned to the Red Centre last year and Steve threw in a special Harley ride across the USA as well!
This time, the Black Dog Ride will spread the message of hope and raise awareness of depression and suicide prevention into every corner of the continent with separate rides in each state and the NT.
Online registration for the NT, Queensland and Western Australia rides are now live. NSW, South Australia, Tasmania and Victoria registrations open in early June.
The first is the NT ride from July 31 to August 5, from Alice Springs to Darwin with registrations closing on June 30.
It is followed by the Queensland ride from North Brisbane on August 13 lapping the state and returning on August 27. Registrations close on July 13.
The Western Australia ride leaves Perth and Busselton on August 18 and heads inland for 10 days. Registrations close July 18.
The rides in southern states are being held later in the year for warmer weather: NSW October 8-16, Tasmania October 10-16, South Australia October 22-29 and Victoria October 22-30.
Steve says last year’s ride to the Red Centre attracted about 350 riders and about 50 pillions who raised more than $300,00 to bring the seven-year total to more than $2 million.
Let’s hope this year’s state rides improves on that number of riders and raises even more funds for Lifeline’s Online Crisis Support chat service and Mental Health First Aid’s teen MHFA program in Australian Secondary Schools.
Next year’s Black Dog Ride will head to Tasmania.
“Poor old Tassie has been left out a bit,” Steve says.
“I didn’t go on my first ride because I was advised there would be black ice in winter and we didn’t go on our national lap for the same reasons, so we will go in 2017 in late October and early November.”