IT IS time to round up your mates and collar them for the annual Black Dog Ride.
The charity ride is in its sixth year and continues to grow as a vehicle to raise awareness about depression.
The event is so popular this year’s headline ride — a seven day trip from each state to Uluru, from August 15 — is already booked out.
That doesn’t excuse riders from taking part in the statebased fundraisers, which run for two or three days.
The money raised to date — about $1.7 million — has helped Lifeline double the operating hours of its online crisis support contact lines and has led Mental Health First Aid develop a teen program for high schools.
Black Dog Ride founder Steve Andrews says the aim is to generate conversation about depression and educate the public that it’s an illness that needs treatment, just like any other ailment.
The latest Australian Bureau of Statistics analysis shows there were almost 50 suicides a week in 2012, making it the leading cause of death among Australians aged 15-49.
The charity takes its name from the “black dog of depression” famously noted by former British PM Winston Churchill.
Not surprisingly, the black dog mascot many riders choose to carry has been dubbed “Winston”.
BMW Motorrad is backing the charity by donating an R1200 RS adventure touring bike, valued at almost $29,000, as a fund-raising prize. Tickets are $50 and there’s a one-in- 2000 chance to win the machine .
Black Dog Ride events — there’s also an annual one-day ride — tap into the goodwill and generosity of the two-wheeled community both at home and overseas.
Foreign appreciation of the cause will launch the Black Dog Ride’s inaugural US foray later this year.
The 21-day, 7000km cruise will put 65 riders on the road from New York to LA, meeting community groups along the way.
Lifeline 131 114