On June 23, Vernon & District residents will join Canadians coast-to-coast to cycle in the Canadian Mental Health Association’s annual Ride Don’t Hide to combat stigma and raise funds for local mental health.
It began with one

Vernon man cycling 40,000 km around the globe. Ten years later, it continues across the country with more than 10,000 cyclists joining together in 35 communities annually to combat mental health stigma.

“Nearly ten years ago Michael Schratter started a movement,” said Julia Payson, Executive Director of Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA) Vernon & District Branch. “Every year that movement strengthens as we join together for Ride Don’t Hide to bring mental health out of the shadows. Every day, we work to strengthen our resolve to end stigma and provide support for our community members throughout the mental health spectrum.”

Schratter, a school teacher living with bipolar disorder, spent almost a year and a half on his cycling journey, equipped with his bike, a knapsack and the determination to realize his dream of raising awareness and empowering those who experience mental illness.

CMHA Vernon & District is encouraging cyclists and non-cyclists alike to take part in this year’s Ride Don’t Hide on June 23rd starting at Creekside Park in Coldstream. The ride is open to all ages and skill levels, from a 2.2 km fun course to a more challenging 40 km ride.

Registration is $30 for youth and adults who register by June 1st ($35 after that date), and free for children 12 and under. Participants also have the option of having the registration fee waived if they raise $100 in donations.

Individuals, families and teams can register online at www.ridedonthide.com.

Over the past 7 years Ride Don’t Hide has raised more than $178,000 to improve mental health in Vernon & District.

This year, funds raised will support youth programs and suicide prevention initiatives.

• Super Saturday, an early intervention and prevention activity-based out of school program for children aged 7-12 years old that have a parent living with a mental illness.

• Friday Night Live, which offers youth 13-17 a peer-support activity-based program to manage their mental wellness.

• Youth Connections, a prevention-based education sessions for youth and youth leaders in school and club settings to address youth substance use, mental health promotion and suicide prevention to equips youth with knowledge and tools for managing mental health and wellness through building relationships and providing a knowledge-base of community resources to access help.

• Suicide Prevention and Intervention through the 24/7 Crisis Line, serving the North Okanagan.

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