June 21st, 2018

// Largest mental health bike ride in Canada aims to bring mental illness out of hiding

Largest mental health bike ride in Canada aims to bring mental illness out of hiding


Ride Don't Hide supports Canadians to open up and seek help

TORONTO, June 20, 2018 /CNW/ - With recent celebrity suicides on everybody's mind, the Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA) is encouraging Canadians to fight stigma and bring mental illness into the open through its upcoming Ride Don't Hide event. On June 24, thousands will cycle in over 30 communities across Canada to spark discussion and raise funds for essential mental health programs and services.

"The stigma associated with mental illness in Canada is more than just uncomfortable—people with mental illness tell us that how others judge them is one of their greatest barriers to a complete and satisfying life," says Dr. Patrick Smith, clinical psychologist and national CEO, CMHA.

According to research, mental health stigma comes in two forms: social stigma is a form of prejudice and discrimination towards those with mental illness or mental health problems; self-stigma is the internalizing of these perceptions of discrimination, which can cause feelings of shame and lead to poorer treatment outcomes.

One man speaking out loudly about his own mental health is Ride Don't Hide ambassador Ryan Martin, who is cycling 8,000 kms across Canada because he wants everyone dealing with mental illnesses to receive the support, care and attention they deserve. Martin is chronicling his ride online at www.mindcycle.ca and on Instagram @mindcycle_canada

"I want to instill confidence in people struggling with mental illnesses and let them know that, with the right support, tools, and mindset, they can achieve anything," says Martin, a 23-year-old from Guelph, Ontario, who has anxiety, depression and bipolar disorder. "I want to help people build the confidence to open up and reach out to someone they feel they can talk to."

Joining Martin in his national effort to raise funds and attention are over 7,500 local riders and thousands more Ride Don't Hide community supporters and volunteers.

Canadians can donate, volunteer or register to cycle in a Ride Don't Hide event in their own community by registering in person at their local CMHA branch or region, or by visiting www.ridedonthide.com.

"It doesn't matter who you are or how many successes you have—nobody is immune to mental health issues or challenges. Recent deaths by suicide of much-loved and well-known celebrities underlines that it's difficult to truly know what someone is going through," says Smith. "That's why we so honour and appreciate the voices of Ryan Martin and the countless community members who are speaking up and cycling in plain sight so their stories can be seen and heard."

About Ride Don't Hide

Ride Don't Hide is the Canadian Mental Health Association's flagship fundraising campaign focused on reducing stigma and raising money for mental health. In its seventh year, Ride Don't Hide is a national event held on June 24th in 31 communities, across seven provinces, from Tofino, BC, to St. John's, NL. The Ride has raised $6 million in funding for mental health programs and services in communities across Canada. For more information, visit www.ridedonthide.com

About the Canadian Mental Health Association

Founded in 1918, the Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA) is the most established, most extensive community mental health organization in Canada. Through a presence in more than 330 communities across every province, CMHA provides advocacy, programs and resources that help to prevent mental health problems and illnesses, support recovery and resilience, and enable all Canadians to flourish and thrive. For more information, visit www.cmha.ca

SOURCE Canadian Mental Health Association


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