THEY might look tough, but these gentle giants are on a heroic mission to help.
“We are the Queensland team of the Black Dog Ride and we’re heading to Tasmania raising awareness for depression and suicide prevention,” Queensland coordinator Michael Young told The Examiner on Tuesday.
The cause this year is “even heroes need a hand”.
It’s all about raising awareness for defence and emergency workers who statistically may experience the trauma of mental illness at twice the rate of other Australians.
The team from Black Dog Ride are fundraising to provide these heroes with mental health first aid training.
This year’s goal is to raise $200,000 to fund 500 scholarships.
“We’re trying to develop some training programs to help them out,” Mr Young said.
“Even though they’re on the front line, they still need support and assistance.”
Every year in Australia, one million adults and 100,000 young people live with depression.
Around 50 per cent of people living with depression won’t seek treatment and over 3,000 Australians will take their own lives this year.
Mr Young said the Black Dog Ride was now in its eighth year.
“In eight years we’ve raised about $2.5 million and that’s gone back into mental health services through Lifeline and Mental Health First Aid Australia to develop training programs,” he said.
“It’s our first time riding to Tassie.”
The crew, of 35 bikes, stopped by Glen Innes on Tuesday morning to grab coffee and a pie at Smeatons Bakery before continuing their journey along the New England Highway towards Tamworth.
“For us this is day two and we stayed at Texas (Queensland) last night,” he said.
“Tonight we’re going to Gunnedah via Guyra, Armidale, Uralla and into Tamworth.
“We forgot about losing that extra hour but we’re making that up.”
The team will arrive in Tasmania on Saturday morning.
“Sunday afternoon is when the rest of Australia will be there,” he said.
“So on Sunday afternoon we’ll have over 300 bikes in Hobart.
“A lot of the guys will have a ride around Tassie to have a look while we’re there too.”
To donate to the Black Dog Ride visit www.blackdogride.com.au.
If you or anyone you know needs help contact Lifeline on 13 11 14.