Bikers dogged: Black Dog Ride highlights mental illness

A GANG of more than 75 motor­cyclists rolled into Mildura yesterday on a mission to drive down the instances of one of Australia's silent killers.

Aimed at raising funds and awareness for depression and suicide prevention, The Black Dog Ride sees riders across the country converge on the Red Centre to help raise awareness and funds to support their mission.

Suicide is a prominent public health concern across Australia, with on average 2320 suicide deaths a year over the past five years; that equates to an average of six deaths each day.

About 76 Victorian riders, who left Melbourne on Saturday, stopped in Mildura yesterday for a barbecue lunch cooked by the Mildura Lions Club at the Telstra Businesses Centre before they continued on their journey through to Barmara for the night.

Victorian co-ordinator Ric Raftis said all the riders had been effected in some way by depression and/or suicide.

“We are not part of any particular group, we are just a bunch of people who have been effected by depression or suicide who have come together for the cause,” Mr Raftis said. “We want to get the conversation started.

“There is a lot of stigma surrounding depression but it is no different to diabetes – it's an illness.

For more of this story, purchase your copy of Tuesday's Sunraysia Daily 20/08/2013.

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