By Evelyn Leckie
MOTORBIKES will cruise throughout the Mitchell Shire, Goulburn Valley and then onto Yea on Sunday as part of the Black Dog Ride – an event that raises awareness about depression and suicide.
Bikers and families in their cars will join the cruise starting from Seymour travelling up the Hume Freeway, before winding their way through the foothills of Strathbogie Ranges and Central Highlands before emerging in the little hamlet of Yarck then on to Yea.
A group will also travel from Wallan through Kilmore and Broadford to meet the group leaving from Seymour.
“The ride brings together people who are dealing with depression, or lost someone to suicide,” event leader Kylie Wheeler said.
“I’ve been affected by the black dog, and I’ve come out the other side, I wanted to be proactive and use my experience to help other people.
“I love riding, that’s where I turn to when I want to clear my head or need some space.”
Eight Australians commit suicide every day, meaning one life is taken every three hours.
It’s estimated there is a suicide attempt every 10 minutes in Australia.
Monique Rosewall who is leading the Wallan leg of the trip said this year’s event would be especially emotional as she lost her husband to suicide late last year.
“I completed the ride last year near Wangaratta before my husband passed away,” she said.
“There will be a different feel to this year’s ride.
“Kylie has been instrumental this year in organising for cars to join the ride so that some of our family members who can’t ride motorbikes can join.
“For me this event is about making people know – you don’t need to be quiet about it, don’t hide it, even if you’re not sure if someone’s okay.
“Just talk to them, and don’t be afraid to talk to anybody and get help.”
Ms Rosewall said more awareness and advocacy around depression and suicide was necessary.
“Services in our area are understaffed, under resourced and undereducated. More needs to be done,” she said.
Anyone wanting to join the ride from Wallan can meet at Wallan McDonalds at 6.45am leaving for Seymour at 7am.
The convoy from Seymour will leave at 8.30am from McDonalds on Emily Street.
For more information on the ride, visit the Black Dog Ride Seymour Facebook page.
• If you or anyone you know need help, call Lifeline on 13 11 14.