176 Niagara riders take part in Canada’s largest mental health bike ride, breaking down stigma and building a community of hope

(St. Catharines, ON) – 6,700 mental health supporters took part nationally in the Canadian Mental Health Association’s (CMHA) Ride Don’t Hide charity bike ride Sunday, June 25 raising over $1.5 million for mental health programs and services. Niagara’s 3rd annual ride was hosted at Brock University this year.

In Niagara, 176 riders raised approximately $28,223 for local community mental health programs. Additionally, Freedom 55 Financial: A Division of London Life will be matching their corporate team’s $6,000 donations, bringing the local fundraising total to a record-breaking $34,000.

Special thanks to local advocate level sponsors Performance Lexus and Michael Sommer, sales representative of Royal LePage.

Celebrating its sixth anniversary, Ride Don’t Hide took place in 30 communities throughout the country, from Newfoundland to British Columbia, making it Canada’s largest community bike ride for mental health. All funds raised through the events go toward CMHA’s mental health programs within the local communities.

“It is so inspiring to see Canadians coming out in the thousands to support mental health in their communities,” said Dr. Patrick Smith, national CMHA CEO. “We’ve already raised more for mental health than last year’s record and we are well on our way to meeting our goal of $1.7 million.”

There’s still plenty of time to contribute to the cause and help Ride Don’t Hide reach its national target with online donations being accepted until July 31 at www.ridedonthide.com.

Ride Don’t Hide ambassadors including Olympians Gillian Carleton, Anastasia Bucsis and Noelle Montcalm, ex-NHL player Curtis Sanford, and actors Andy Jones and Mary-Lynn Bernard championed their local rides – many bringing their own personal mental health story to the event.

St. Catharines Member of Parliament Chris Bittle led the ride’s 15km route, while the 35km route was led by professional triathlete and Canadian Olympian Kyle Jones.

For national ambassador and ride founder Michael Schratter, the groundswell of support for Ride Don’t Hide has been a dream come true.

“Ride Don’t Hide for me has always been about empowering others to come out of the dark,” says Michael, Ride Don’t Hide national ambassador. “Never in my wildest dreams could I have imagined Ride Don’t Hide would be what it is today. To see these 6,700 people come out and ride, and show each other there’s nothing to be ashamed of, that’s what Ride Don’t Hide is all about.”

In any given year, one in five, or approximately seven million Canadians, experience a mental health problem or illness, but only one-third will seek help – often due to the discrimination and stigma around mental illness.

The tremendous growth of Ride Don’t Hide in just 6 years – from 560 riders in 2 BC events in 2012 to thousands across 6 provinces this year – demonstrates an appetite for change. The recent 3rd Annual Canadian Mental Health Check-Up by Ipsos Public Affairs found that almost half (48%) of those surveyed reported being more comfortable talking about mental health issues compared to two years ago.

Furthermore, the proportion of Canadians who say they have talked with someone about mental health continues to increase with 42% saying they opened up to someone (most likely a friend, family member or a family doctor) about their mental health in the past year. This is up 7% from last year.

CMHA is still accepting donations online at www.ridedonthide.com or through its local branches. Contact 1-800-555-8222 for more information.


Local contact:

For more photos of Sunday’s Ride Don’t Hide and interviews with CMHA and local residents with personal mental health stories, please contact:
Kaitlyn Daw, Canadian Mental Health Association, Niagara (905) 641-5222 ext. 2644 or kdaw@cmhaniagara.ca


About Ride Don’t Hide

Ride Don’t Hide is an annual fundraiser hosted by the Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA) in celebration and support of mental health for all, with the goal of ending the stigma around mental illness. First launched with Michael Schratter’s 40,000 km ride around the globe in 2010, Ride Don’t Hide is a growing national movement with community bike rides in 30 communities across BC, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Ontario and Newfoundland and Labrador. This year CMHA aims to engage more than 10,000 participants and raise $1,700,000 for mental health programs. Join the movement and find your local community ride at www.ridedonthide.com.

Facebook: @RideDontHide
Twitter: @ridedonthide / #RideDontHide / #EndStigma
Instagram: RideDontHide

About the Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA)
Founded in 1918, the Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA) is the most established, most extensive community mental health organization in Canada. Through a presence in hundreds of neighbourhoods across every province, CMHA provides advocacy and resources that help to prevent mental health problems and illnesses, support recovery and resilience, and enable all Canadians to flourish and thrive. Visit the CMHA website at www.cmha.ca.

Media Contact:
Kaitlyn Daw
Communications and Events Facilitator
P: 905-641-5222 ext. 2644
E: kdaw@cmhaniagara.ca