Ride do not hide

Today I am happy to help spread the word about a couple of great events coming up in our community to promote mental health.

Mark your calendar for the weekend of June 22 and 23.

Saturday afternoon there is a 5km walk supporting the local Post Partum Depression Awareness group. Participants meet up at the Kelowna H2O centre and walk together from there to raise awareness and funds for women experiencing postpartum mood disorders. This event is open to everyone including families and parents with strollers.

The next day holds another event you shouldn’t miss. Ride Don’t Hide – a community bike ride supporting the mental health of women and families - takes place Sunday morning beginning at the Rotary Club. This event features a 40km long ride and a 7km family ride to raise funds for the local branch of the Canadian Mental Health Association’s programs for women and families.

Ride Don’t Hide started in 2010 by a Vancouver-based teacher named Michael Schratter. He lives with bipolar disorder and decided to embark on a 40,000km cycling journey around the world to raise awareness and battle the stigma surrounding mental illness.

Anyone who experiences mental illness can tell you about the pain caused by a lack of knowledge or understanding of these conditions. Many people delay diagnosis and life-saving treatment for years because they are afraid of the possible repercussions of admitting they have a disease. What results is years of unnecessary suffering, declining health, lost opportunities, damaged or lost relationships and sometimes even the tragedy of suicide.

Ride Don’t Hide and other awareness raising events are important for raising funds for local community support programs. Equally important, these kinds of events encourage our whole community to stand together in solidarity with those experiencing mental illness. To boldly affirm the saying that “there is no health without mental health” and encourage those who are ill to seek the help they need.

For more information and to register for Ride Don’t Hide, visit the local CMHA website at www.kelowna.cmha.bc.ca/ride-dont-hide. If you’re interested in the 5km walk in support of Post Partum Depression Awareness, you can learn more and register at www.ppda.ca.

Better yet, make a weekend of it and attend both events. Show your support for the individuals and families in Kelowna who live with mental illness. Together we can eliminate stigma.


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