PEDAL power is being used in the latest push for a Headspace facility in Griffith.
The Tour Against Suicide Bike Ride will head out from Hay this Saturday, April 12 to drive home the urgent need for support in this region.
The aim of the tour is to raise awareness of suicide and encourage activities in local communities that help promote intervention and prevention services, while also raising funds for the town’s awareness group Community Action for Suicide Elimination (CASE), and highlight the desperate need for a Headspace facility in Griffith, which would support surrounding towns such as Hay.
The tour, which has been endorsed by Prime Minister Tony Abbott, will travel 585kms from Hay to Canberra finishing at ACT Legislative Assembly Canberra on Friday, April 18.
CASE president Peter Dwyer said everything was in place, with the riders eager to set off.
“The ride came about because we had a number of suicides in Hay,” he said.
“A few of us decided we’d had enough and we needed to do something.
“I was mayor at the time and one of my best friends suicided and it knocked the wind out of me.
“We called a community meeting and since them we’ve had more than 200 residents do a one-day intervention course and they now have the skills to keep an eye on others who might need a hand.
“We really just want to raise awareness and get people talking about suicide and depression to get rid of the stigma.”
In a letter of support received earlier this month Prime Minister Abbott congratulated the riders participating.
“Any day that starts on a bike is a good day because cycling does wonders for the mind, body and soul,” Mr Abbott said.
“I wish I could be there riding alongside you from Hay to Canberra.
“Your efforts are supporting the important work of CASE. I also acknowledge the efforts of riders to promote suicide awareness in the towns that you travel through.”
Mr Abbott said the coalition government was doing its part to address suicide in the community, which is the leading cause of death for young Australians aged 15 to 24.
“We have committed $18million to the National Centre for Excellence in Youth Mental Health,” he said.
“My hope is that this commitment will bolster our response to youth mental health by supporting new programmes to reduce deliberate self-harm and suicide.”
CASE contacted the Headspace4Griffith committee to offer support to its campaign to raise awareness and support the region, along with making the Federal Government aware of the need for a Headspace service.
Despite missing out on funding last time for a Headspace facility in Griffith, the committee is hoping that they will be successful candidates in the next funding round.
Lifeline – 13 11 14
Suicide Call Back Service – 1300 659 467
Kids Helpline – 1800 55 1800