Get Ready to Ride
Riders start their ride in last year’s event – photo 250News archive
Prince George, B.C. – No one is immune to mental illness, that’s why the annual Ride Don’t Hide event is so important to communities, including Prince George.
Mary Lu Spagrud is the Manager of Education Projects with the Canadian Mental Health Association’s Prince George office. New information indicates more and more Canadians are being diagnosed with mental illness. The increase may be due in part to peeling away the stigma of mental health making more people feel more comfortable in coming forward ” That’s one of the factors we believe is happening” says Spagrud “We are doing a lot more education and there seems to be a lot more acceptance in the fact that some of those myths around mental illness (such as ) some people don’t require treatment, we are starting to see that change and we are becoming better at understanding what does mental illness look like, what does it mean to be depressed, what does it mean to have an anxiety disorder.”
Another factor is the impact of having people like Princes William and Harry come forward to talk about their own mental health experiences “Having celebrities talk about mental health normalizes it” says Spagrud.
This is the 5th year for the Ride Don’t Hide event in Prince George. It is a family event that encourages people to talk about mental illness “and work towards talking about health in general, rather than the differences between physical and mental health.”
Last year, the event raised nearly $12.5 thousand dollars.
Statistics show people who live in northern climates seem to be more susceptible to a certain type of mental health issue says Spagrud “We do see higher rates in northern parts of provinces of Seasonald Affected disorder due to the longer winters and reduced sunlight.”
All of the money raised through the Ride Don’t Hide event in Prince George statys in Prince George says Spagrud “It goes towards the education progam at the Canadian Mental Health Association here. It allows us to do subsidized training, or go agencies that can’t normally afford fees, it allows us to speak at schools, do the sort of off the desk kind of things we would like to do, but thee is always that question of who is going to pay for it?”
She says the dollars are all about making education more accessible.
The Ride itself is set to take place on June 25th and will offer a variety of lengths of rides for participants, from 6 km to 50 kms for more advanced riders. The event kicks off at 9:00 with the cyclists wheeling out at 10:00.
Those wanting more information, or who would like to make a donation or sponsor other riders can get the details by clicking here.