So, you ask – why am I doing the Ride for Youth? It’s a huge commitment in time, getting out of bed at 4:30am four days a week to train to be able to do the 700km. I also pay all of my own costs to participate and I commit to raising at least $5,000. Let alone balancing my work and home commitments.
So why? The evidence about reducing youth suicide is compelling – it takes just four concurrent strategies:
1. Improving public awareness;
2. Providing access to primary care and mental health services;
3. Engaging at-risk young people and their families; and
4. Community leadership.
The ride is a means to bring about these synergistic actions – by talking at schools about the importance of Mental Health and wellbeing, providing information about where to go for assistance, funding school counsellors, and by collaborating with community stakeholders about leadership to reduce stigma.
The ride touches all four quadrants. For me, it is about walking the talk – providing leadership to my peers, colleagues and staff about the importance of prevention - and if my efforts help but one young person, then I feel I have made a contribution. You can too.
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