A CONVOY of more than 100 leather-clad riders passed through Warrnambool on Saturday to raise awareness of depression and suicide prevention.
The south-west stopover was part of the Black Dog Ride’s Mount Gambier-to-Torquay leg, en route to the ride’s finish in Bondi tomorrow.
As well as raising money for Lifeline and Mental Health First Aid, the national movement of motorcyclists aims to get people talking about depression and mental illness.
Bikes in the ride carried plush black dog toys representing the widely-used metaphor for depression.
Koroit resident Darryl Twycross is one of 55 riders taking part in the 32-day ride across Australia, whhich has averaged 540 kilometres a day since July 26.
As with each of the ride’s participants, he has contributed to fund-raising and helped reach a total of more than $350,000 nationally.
“It’s great to be part of something like this,” Mr Twycross said. “The response from people we see at petrol stops or where we’re having tea, people just want to come up and talk to you.
“I’ve had six or seven come up and just chat about their experience, losing loved ones and family members, so they’re very pleased that someone’s doing something that can help. Stats are showing suicide is the number one killer for people under 41, so it’s definitely a discussion that needs more awareness to get the stigma away from it.”
Ian Thomsen, of Yarra Junction, said the ride along the Great Ocean Road provided some beautiful scenery on Saturday.
“It’s opened me up to seeing people suffering with depression and being able to walk up and talk about it, to support their cause,” he said.
* If you or someone you know is experiencing an emotional crisis, call Lifeline on 13 11 14.