One in five Canadians will be affected by a mental illness at some point in time in their life according to the Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA).
“Two thirds of those people will never go and get the help they need because of the fear of being stigmatized,” said Shannon Patton, director of Community Engagement for CMHA Regina.
Patton is also the co-chair of this year’s Ride Don’t Hide event in Regina, that’s also taking place across the nation.
More than 220 cyclists in Regina are taking part in the event on Sunday. It’s expected more than 10,000 people will take part in Canada.
Patton said the goal of this event is to break down the stigma around mental health and to raise money for the local CMHA.
“People need to recognize mental illness the same way as we recognize physical illness as they are no different, ” she said.
“If I had a broken bone, I wouldn’t think twice about going and getting the help, and people would acknowledge ‘oh that’s too bad’ but I have a broken heart or a broken mind, or a mental illness, it’s not quite the same … people need to know, It’s okay, not to be okay.”
This is the second year Regina has hosted the event and the local branch set a fundraising goal of $75,000.
“Any amount of money we raise is fantastic … money raised stays in Regina for our programming,” she said. ” We have current existing program that we want to enhance but we’re also looking at expanding into the community and creating new initiatives within the community.”
As of Sunday morning, 89 per cent of their fundraising goal was achieved.
Patten said CMHA Regina has more than 900 members that come and participate in various activities. She added they serve over 10,000 meals a year and most people don’t know that about the facility.
“We have a big need there to continue and to possibly enhance that meal program,” she said. “Through our community engagement area, we also increase the capacity for the understanding and education of mental illness so, we can show the difference between what is mental illness and what is mental health.”
Cyclists wearing rainbow, and bright green shirts could be seen as early as 7 a.m. A planning committee and more than 55 volunteers helped make sure the different rides, 90, 25 and five kilometres were safe and enjoyable for cyclists of all levels of experience.