Taming the black dog

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RIDING FOR A CAUSE: Black Dog Ride organiser Ric Raftis, pictured front with Archie Howden, Thomas Busheinen, Ash Lau, and Shane Taylor during their stop in Wodonga.
Nanjing Night Net

DOZENS of motorbike riders have roared into Wodonga to raise money for a good cause.

About 80 people stopped in the city as part of the Black Dog Ride on Saturday.

They were part of a movement started by Steve Andrews in 2009 after he attended the funeral of his best mate’s wife, who died to suicide.

Mr Andrews had also lost his mother years earlier after she took her own life.

Suicide Prevention Albury-Wodonga chairman Richard Brown said participants raised money on the ride by taking donations, which is then used to fight the problem.

The cash is given to Lifeline and other mental health services.

“At the moment suicide is the leading cause of death for all people between the ages of 15 and 44, and 75 per cent of those people happen to be men,” he said.

“People who identify as gay and lesbian take their own lives at a higher rate than the rest of the community, and more Indigenous people take their own lives.

“In 2015 across Australia, 2027 people died by suicide, which is about double the road toll.”

In a bid to combat such figures, Suicide Prevention Albury-Wodonga directs people to various mental health services.

“We distribute material to doctors’ surgeries and places like that regarding places people can seek help,” Mr Brown said.

“We also host community information sessions around how to seek help for mental health concerns and how people can navigate the health system.

“We’re trying to work on suicide prevention for everyone.

“The suicide rate is particularly high.”

The riders spent time at Junction Place before travelling to other towns in the region.

Mr Brown believed the effortwas having an impact, saying “we always get a positive response”..

“The Black Dog Ride has raised over $2 million for mental health services over the past six years.

“It’s making a good contribution.”

Many of the riders have some link to suicide or depressionand others just want to help out the cause.

Mr Brown said he was keen for more people to get involved in the local suicide prevention group as volunteers.

For help or information, callLifelineon 131 114 orbeyondblue1300 224 636This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.