ScoMo supports Gympie woman’s mental health message
A GYMPIE woman's involvement in a nationwide mental health awareness charity received a glowing endorsement this week - from none other than Prime Minister Scott Morrison.
Local occupational therapist, motorbike enthusiast and Black Dog Ride team member Donna Griffin joined Amy Olsen for the long trip down from the Gold City to Canberra this week, first linking up with Wide Bay MP Llew O'Brien at his office during parliamentary sitting week.
There they presented Mr O'Brien with his very own "Winston", the Black Dog Ride mascot symbolising the collective's mission to "raise awareness of depression and suicide prevention" since 2009.
Then came a brief chance to meet and chat with the PM about their cause, which sees Black Dog riders journey all over the country to connect with communities and normalise discussing mental health.
"When we're out and about in the communities that are doing it tough, we just pull up and talk to people, we're all identifiable," Ms Griffin said.
"It's about starting those conversations to reduce the stigma of mental health, talking about depression and talking about issues and saying it's OK to talk.
"We don't say we have all the answers, but we listen."
Mr O'Brien shed some more light on the cause through a statement on his Facebook page.
"My good friends Donna Griffin and Amy Olsen rode their motorbikes from Gympie to Canberra this week to present the Prime Minister … with his very own Winston, the Black Dog Ride mascot," Mr O'Brien said.
"The Black Dog Ride began in 2009, when Steve Andrews, who lost a friend to suicide, set off on a ride around Australia to raise awareness about depression.
"The ride is now a national charity event, supported by thousands of Australians, raising funds for mental health programs. It encourages people to talk about depression and suicide and to seek help as early as possible.
"It is a very sad fact that eight Australians every day lose their lives to suicide. That's one every three hours. The Black Dog Ride aims to reduce the toll by encouraging people to talk about mental health and letting people know there is help available."
Ms Griffin will continue to Phillip Island for this weekend's 2020 Superbike World Championship, which is sponsoring Black Dog Ride.
For more about Black Dog Ride visit https://www.blackdogride.org.au/.