Black Dog ride participants meet up in Cobram before they burn rubber to beat the blues.ROBERT HENSON July 31, 2014 3:47am
Wheelie good cause: Motorcyclists from around Victoria, Tasmania joined with Cobram residents on their way to the Black Dog Ride's start.
A group of benevolent bikers have set off from Cobram and around Australia to raise awareness of depression and take ‘the black dog’ for a ride.
Motorcycle riders arrived from around Victoria and Tasmania to set off from Cobram at 8
They were on their way to Batueau Bay on Saturday where more than 60 riders began the 14
Each rider hosts ‘Winston’ a stuffed black dog. The plush toy refers to a Winston Churchill quote, which describes depression as a ‘‘constant companion’’.
Cobram’s Anwyn Roberts said, as a sufferer of depression for more than 20 years, he knew the depths of the illness only too well.
‘‘It’s a terrible place to be when you’re in the depths of depression, because you tend to withdraw and that’s when people need to be reaching out,’’ Mr Roberts said.
‘‘I have a long history of depression and I used to self medicate. I got myself into a lot of trouble with that.
‘‘The reason I’m committed is 23 years ago I looked into committing suicide, I knew it would be too painful for my family, so I signed up for the Gulf war intending not to come back.
‘‘Thankfully I did come back but the first time I called up a crisis line I got an answering machine.’’
Half the money raised from the ride goes to mental health service Lifeline and the other half goes to Mental Health First Aid, a program to help people recognise the symptoms and deal with a mental health illness sufferer.
After taking part last year, Mr Roberts said he was keen to enjoy the ‘‘camaraderie’’.
‘‘It’s a serious message we carry, but it’s fun,’’ he said.
‘‘The highlight last year was riding through Alice Springs, with everyone coming out and saying thank you as we rode through the town.’’
While most years the route heads to the red centre, this year’s extended route, to mark the five-year anniversary, heads anti-clockwise around Australia’s coast.
Alongside the main ride are smaller state rides, with the Victorian contingent scheduled to visit Cobram about lunchtime on Thursday, August 28.
With reports of mental health issues striking primary school-aged children, and statistics worse in rural areas, Mr Roberts said awareness of mental health problems could improve.
‘‘More people die of suicide than the road toll, I guess you could ask why don’t we have a campaign like the road toll does, to make people aware of it?’’
The ride started in 2009 when Steve Andrews in response to friends’ and their partners suicides, from Claremont rode 16
‘‘It’s incredible, it’s proof that one person can make a difference,’’ Mr Roberts said.
‘‘I did it a year ago. After the ride I realised I was with a group of people (other riders) that understand me, and I could talk about my anxiety and depression,’’ she said.
‘‘I never talked about it, then when I did a lot of people congratulated me.
‘‘I wasn’t advertising it before, since the ride I’ve talked about what it is and my experiences.
‘‘At fundraiser barbecues outside the local supermarket I have people say their friend, colleague or family member have encountered suicide or depression.’’
Ms De Boer said the ride had helped her to assist her son who witnessed a suicide and suffered a mental illness.
‘‘I’ve found that what we’ve put into and been able to achieve through this (ride) is some consolation to what I’ve been through.’’
The Country Fire Authority has issued an emergency warning for a fast moving, out-of-control grassfire near Tongala.
Police investigating a break and enter at a Mulwala club more than 10 years ago are renewing their appeal for public assistance by releasing an image of a person they believe has information to assist them.
Tatura’s Victory Hall is set for a big year as preparations get under way to celebrate the hall’s 90th birthday in September.
The 2015 Moama RSL indoor bias bowls season starts next week.
Rochester Secondary College school captains Dom Atley and Tim Poole have been accepted to study biomedical science in the first step towards becoming doctors.
Will it be Merrigum or Lancaster?
Fire destroys key public buildings in Seymour
Finley Henry Matheson was bestowed one of the highest Australia Day honours.
Heathcote Hostel residents were treated to a visit from Heathcote’s favourite horse, Sub Zero, as part of Australia Day celebrations.
Recent weather conditions have come as a mixed blessing for farmers, with high rainfall and humidity providing a respite for irrigators as well as difficult growing and picking conditions for fruit growers.
Darren McLoughlin only started playing croquet seven years ago.
From orchards to harvest to shelves, a new exhibition will celebrate the Goulburn Valley’s iconic fruit industry. The Photos of the Fruit Industry exhibition will run as part of the SheppARTon Festival in March and aims to share memories and history of an industry that has shaped the region.
Former Benalla footballer Tom Rockliff has been named captain of the Brisbane Lions Football Club.
Discover unbelievable local deals from local businesses every week in the Goulburn and Murray Valley area with Leapon.com.au!
Search properties for sale or rent across North Central Victoria and Southern NSW. Visit your local website for local homes....
Search for published and unpublished photos from McPherson Media Group newspapers and magazines. All our photos are available to purchase.
Place an advertisement in any one of McPherson Media Group's local newspapers.