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BIKER NEWS: Riding for health

BN- Wellbeing. A group of ‘Psychs on Bikes’ were in Smithton on Sunday, providing local residents with easier access to health service...


BN- Wellbeing. A group of ‘Psychs on Bikes’ were in Smithton on Sunday, providing local residents with easier access to health services during ‘Mental Health Week’.

Teaming up with Tasmanian mental health organisation, Rural Alive and Well (RAW), the group set up health stations at the Circular Head Community and Recreation Centre and welcomed passersby to pop in for a check up and chat on Sunday afternoon.

Psychs on Bikes is a national mental health organisation, made up of trained mental and physical health clinicians and motorbike enthusiasts who, as part of their holidays, undertake a ‘ride’ that travels to remote communities across Australia.

Each ride consists of about 20 riders, who take on at least one big annual ride as well as smaller rides throughout the year.

This however, was the group’s first time to Tasmania and following a “warm welcome” in Smithton they convoyed to Queenstown, Triabunna and Sheffield, among other locations.

Psychs on Bikes president Joe Dunn, who began riding at the age of 15 said he gave up the hobby while raising his family.

“I’m a B.A.B,” he laughed. “Born-again biker!”

Following a free physical and mental health check with the trained professionals, people are then referred on to further support services if needed.

“Suicide affects the whole community in rural [and] remote areas,” Mr Dunn said. “They’re horrible tragedies which can often be prevented.”

RAW chief executive officer Danial Rochford said the initiative provided an “important avenue” for reaching out to isolated people.

“[You] certainly see in rural settings – where there is a lack of services – an increase in mental illness,” he said.

“RAW’s job is to break the veil of silence.”

Rural Alive and Well has 10 outreach workers based across the state, with Tony Barker assigned to the north west.

To speak with a rural outreach worker, phone RAW’s 24/7 hotline 1300 HELP MATE (1300 4357 6283).

Source: http://www.chchronicle.com.au/riding-for-health-16882/

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