beyondblue: opening our eyes to depression across Australia

Early in 2009 I was putting together the inaugural Black Dog Ride to raise awareness of depression and wanted to connect with an organisation who worked in the field with a view to supporting them by distributing their literature and raising money towards their work. Who better, I thought, than the national depression initiative beyondblue. Below is their response to my introductory email.

"Dear Steve,

REF: Motorcycle Ride

Thanks for your proposal and for your interest in supporting beyondblue's work.

At beyondblue we are lucky in that we are often inundated with offers of support, goodwill or great ideas from members of the public, many of whom want to support us because they have a personal connection with depression - whether it's themselves, a family member or a friend.

Your endeavour to undertake a motorcycle trip around Australia is creative and courageous. Unfortunately however, beyondblue management considers it high risk and cannot officially sponsor the journey. We greatly appreciate your proposal however we do not feel we are the best match for your venture and we would suggest you approach the Mental Health Council of Australia who do excellent work.

Your support in getting the message out there about depression greatly contributes to reducing the stigma associated with the illness. If you would like to order any of our free information resources to wear, such as a wristband, please visit our website - and click on 'Get Information'.

Once again thank you for thinking of beyondblue. All gestures of support are greatly appreciated, but unfortunately beyondblue is not always in a position to support them.

Kind Regards,

beyondblue: the national depression initiative"

It's fair to say I was disappointed with the response. I didn't want their (our) money, $34.6 million in the 2005/06 budget, they didn't really have to do anything other than send me some stickers for the motorbike and some flyers, oh yes, and a wristband.

Please don't get me wrong, I believe beyondblue has done some great work, but I ask myself if they have perhaps lost touch with grass roots awareness raising, contact with the "target market", the person suffering in silence and alone and those around them.

beyondblue: open YOUR eyes to depression across Australia.