June 22, 2014 9:12 pm

Stop the stigma: Ride Don’t Hide battles mental illness

OKANAGAN — It’s all about the power of a pair of wheels. Upwards of 250 cyclists hit the streets of Kelowna Saturday to raise awareness and funds for mental health during the third annual Ride Don’t Hide event.

According to organizers, events like this are paramount for shining a light on the stigma facing mental illness.

“We are able to talk about so many of our problems, but we are still unable or uncomfortable with talking about mental illness,” says Candance Giesbrecht with the Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA).

According to the CMHA, one in five Canadians will suffer from some form of mental illness requiring treatment during their lifetime.

“Front line police officers see everyday the effects of mental health on people suffering mental illness and the benefits organizations like the Canadian Mental Health Association can have in our communities,” says Supt. Tim Head, acting commander of the Southeast District of the BC RCMP.

There were two rides underway Saturday, a 40 kilometre trek for those wanting a challenge and a 7 kilometre bike for families.

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