Black Dog Exposed in Numurkah

Black Dog Ride has been building an ever growing field of working parties in local communities who advocate for mental health awareness.

On International Volunteers Day, read about five Victorian Black Dog Riders who are working hard at a local level to grow awareness and support for mental health within our society. Thank you, Ric, Archie, Ross, Alan and Ash, you're inspirational!

Show your appreciation for these five fantastic fellas here.

Mental Health Forum in Numurkah

By Ric Raftis

It's been said by many a motorcyclist that mental health is just a tank full of fuel away. With a breeze in your face and the bitumen racing away beneath your feet, you easily develop a sense of freedom that is difficult to explain. It is in this state that your mind begins to wander and often develop all sorts of ideas to be implemented when the wheels stop revolving.

It was certainly the case with Archie Howden from Numurkah who saw presentations about mental health when on the Black Dog Ride and wanted to take the same information to his community. As someone who had experienced the dark void of depression, he wanted to share the hope where the huge issue of the Black Dog was confronted and faced down.

When Archie got back home, he put the concept of the arranging a forum on mental health and suicide to his local Strathmerton Lions Club of which he was a member. The idea was embraced by them and they then joined with the Numurkah Lions Club to make the concept of a forum become a reality.

Black Dog Rider Archie Howden in Numurkah

Black Dog Rider Archie Howden in Numurkah.

The forum was held in the Numurkah Community Centre on the 22nd November 2012. As a result of the hard work done by the Lions Committee in promoting the event, around 60 to 70 members of the public turned up to listen to Ric Raftis, the Victorian Co-ordinator of the Black Dog Ride deliver a presentation on mental health. The presentation was well received and the following question time was very active. Several members of the audience shared their own experiences with the Black Dog which demonstrates that you don't have to be a rock star or a famous person to be touched. Depression is non-discriminatory!

Black Dog Rider Ric Raftis presenting at the Mental Health Forum in Numurkah

Black Dog Rider Ric Raftis presenting in Numurkah.

Events such as this are a great way of achieving several outcomes in local communities. They provide valuable and factual information about mental health issues and suicide. They bring the issues out into the open and this in itself helps overcome the stigma that often surrounds mental health. They can also often be instrumental in helping people realise that they are not alone in their communities fighting the Black Dog. With depression affecting 1 in 5 people during their lifetime there are always many people in a community dealing with similar issues.

It was great to see a few Black Dog Riders supporting the event as well. Ross Tinkler rode over from Benalla for the night and Alan Zimmer rode all the way up from Melbourne. Together with Ash Lau and Archie Howden, there were 5 Black Dog Riders at the event to promote the work of the Black Dog Ride.

Black Dog Riders Archie Howden, Ric Raftis, Ash Lau, Alan Zimmer and Ross Tinkler in Numurkah

The Fantastic Five! From left, Archie Howden, Ric Raftis, Ash Lau, Alan Zimmer and Ross Tinkler.

If you are currently experiencing problems you can always call Lifeline on 13 11 14. If you would like Ric (VIC) to come and speak to your community, you can contact him on 0407 412100.

Winston in Numurkah

The lads made sure that Winston didn't miss out on their excursion to Numurkah.