Rid­ing to help oth­ers

Southern Gazette (South Perth) - - NEWS - Aaron Cor­lett

LEON Bur­gin is hop­ing to start con­ver­sa­tions about men­tal health when he takes part in the Hawai­ian Ride for Youth.

The Burswood res­i­dent will be among rid­ers rais­ing money for Youth Fo­cus

His jour­ney will start in Al­bany on March 21, vis­it­ing schools in Katan­ning and Nar­ro­gin, be­fore fin­ish­ing in Perth on March 25.

“It’s the fourth time I’ve taken part,” he said. “I started be­cause I knew peo­ple who had taken part and it’s some­thing dif­fer­ent to do.

“It’s great rais­ing aware­ness about men­tal health and talk­ing about it; I knew col­leagues and friends who have had men­tal health is­sues.

“It’s sad that peo­ple are happy to go to the doc­tor for a cold but they are less in­clined to if it’s a men­tal health is­sue be­cause of the stigma sur­round­ing it.”

Mr Bur­gin said the most en­joy­able part of the ride was vis­it­ing schools.

“We visit two schools each day and it’s all about start­ing con­ver­sa­tions and en­gag­ing with stu­dents,” he said.

“One of the rid­ers will get up and talk about the signs of men­tal health is­sues or they will share a per­sonal story about a friend or their own child­hood.

“A lot of men­tal health is­sues start be­fore peo­ple turn 25, so th­ese are im­por­tant con­ver­sa­tions.”

Mr Bur­gin will be in the Mur­doch Univer­sity-spon­sored team with four other rid­ers, who have all been train­ing since Oc­to­ber.

“The train­ing is tai­lored so some­one in their mid 60s or some­one who has never rid­den can do it,” he said.

Visit www.ride­fory­outh.com.au.

Picture: Matt Jelonek www.com­mu­ni­typix.com.au d466119

Leon Bur­gin.

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