Record-breaking Ride Don’t Hide event raises over $1.5 million for mental health across Canada
191 riders in Vernon take part in Canada’s largest mental health bike ride, breaking down stigma and building a community of hope
Vernon, BC – 6,700 mental health supporters took part nationally in the Canadian Mental Health Association’s (CMHA) Ride Don’t Hide charity bike ride Sunday, June 25 raising over $1.5 million for mental health programs and services.
In Vernon, 191 riders raised $45,561.75 for local community mental health programs. This was a recording breaking year! More than double the initial fundraising target! Bringing the total of funds raised for mental health in our community through thus event over $120,000 in the past 5 years.
Celebrating its sixth anniversary, Ride Don’t Hide took place in 30 communities throughout the country, from Newfoundland to British Columbia, making it Canada’s largest community bike ride for mental health. All funds raised through the events go toward CMHA’s mental health programs within the local communities.
“It is so inspiring to see Canadians coming out in the thousands to support mental health in their communities,” said Dr. Patrick Smith, national CMHA CEO. “We’ve already raised more for mental health than last year’s record and we are well on our way to meeting our goal of $1.7 million.”
There’s still plenty of time to contribute to the cause and help Ride Don’t Hide reach its national target with online donations being accepted until July 31 at www.ridedonthide.com.
Ride Don’t Hide ambassadors including Olympians Gillian Carleton, Anastasia Bucsis and Noelle Montcalm, ex-NHL player Curtis Sanford, and actors Andy Jones and Mary-Lynn Bernard championed their local rides – many bringing their own personal mental health story to the event.
Locally, Vernon’s top fundraising team placed 4th in all of Canada, Liam’s Lunar Monkey’s raised over $19,000 in memory of Liam Hack. Liam was only a teenager when he died by suicide last year, his family and friends came together to not only raise funds but awareness about youth mental health and suicide in our community.
“The Ride Don’t Hide movement is all about coming out and riding to banish the stigma around mental illness,” said Todd Strilchuk, Liam’s Lunar Monkey’s Team Captain and Ride Don’t Hide Committee Chair. “There is still a journey ahead of us, but days like this make me feel that the shadows are starting to dissipate.”
For national ambassador and ride founder Michael Schratter, the groundswell of support for Ride Don’t Hide has been a dream come true.
“Ride Don’t Hide for me has always been about empowering others to come out of the dark,” says Michael, Ride Don’t Hide national ambassador. “Never in my wildest dreams could I have imagined Ride Don’t Hide would be what it is today. To see these 6,700 people come out and ride, and show each other there’s nothing to be ashamed of, that’s what Ride Don’t Hide is all about.”
In any given year, one in five, or approximately seven million Canadians, experience a mental health problem or illness, but only one-third will seek help – often due to the discrimination and stigma around mental illness.
The tremendous growth of Ride Don’t Hide in just 6 years – from 560 riders in 2 BC events in 2012 to thousands across 6 provinces this year – demonstrates an appetite for change. The recent 3rd Annual Canadian Mental Health Check-Up by Ipsos Public Affairs found that almost half (48%) of those surveyed reported being more comfortable talking about mental health issues compared to two years ago.
Furthermore, the proportion of Canadians who say they have talked with someone about mental health continues to increase with 42% saying they opened up to someone (most likely a friend, family member or a family doctor) about their mental health in the past year. This is up 7% from last year.
CMHA is still accepting donations online at www.ridedonthide.com or through its local branches. Contact 1-800-555-8222 for more information.