Dubbo Black Dog One Dayer to visit Armatree

SPARKING CONVERSATIONS: Dubbo Black Dog Ride event coordinator Wayne Amor at Mungery last year. Photo: ZAARKACHA MARLAN
SPARKING CONVERSATIONS: Dubbo Black Dog Ride event coordinator Wayne Amor at Mungery last year. Photo: ZAARKACHA MARLAN

The sight of almost 200 motorcycles rumbling into Armatree will certainly start a conversation, no matter what.

This year the Black Dog Ride One Dayer event will be heading to the small community on Sunday, March 15 for a family day.

The annual ride aims to start conversations about depression and suicide prevention and help break down the silence about mental illness.

Dubbo Black Dog Ride coordinator Wayne Amor said after last year's successful event at Mungery, organisers wanted to continue their support for rural communities, especially for those doing it tough because of the drought.

"It great just to give everyone an opportunity to have a chat to somebody different about what's been going on in their part of the world, and for us to have a better understanding of what's going on in other parts of the community as well," he said.

The ride will see participants leave from the Macquarie Inn at Dubbo and head to Narromine, before travelling to Collie and then stopping at Armatree.

Here they will host a market day with live entertainment and home-style meals supplied by the community for $10 each.

The Black Dog Ride first began in 2010 with several hundred riders joining founder Steve Andrews on a day-long mission to raise awareness of depression.

By March 2018, the national awareness raising activity had over 6500 riders participate in 41 regions in every state and territory across the nation.

"I think there were about seven rides in the first year and we're now up to about 45 rides most years," Mr Amor said.

"So we're going from strength-to-strength in the amount of rides, just in NSW there's 12 rides."

One in five Australians experience a mental health condition each year and three million Australians are living with depression or anxiety, according to the Black Dog Ride.

Tragically, 180 Australians attempt to suicide each day and eight take their lives each day, which is nearly 3000 lives lost to suicide every year.

For Mr Amor the event is not only an opportunity to start conversations within communities, but also for those who participate in the ride.

"It's actually quite surprising to see the numbers of people that are either directly affected as in personally themselves or have family members or friends that are affected by mental illness, depression or know someone that's suicided," he said.

"It's up near the 80 per cent mark."

Mr Amor said that was how he became involved in the institution, and said it was important to start conversations and educate people on how to look for the signs.

"It just shatters peoples lives," he said.

"It's just very hard to understand how it can happen, how people don't see the signs ... maybe a little more research, or more training to make yourself little more aware of how [mental health] can affect people, and how you can try and assist them if you do see someone that's struggling.

"Someone that's a bit out of character, whether their lethargic, don't want to go out, don't want to go to work or their attitude has changed, whatever the case may be, it might just be one little thing."

Motorcycle enthusiasts are encouraged to join the ride to show their support for the national suicide prevention initiative.

Anyone who would like to join the ride people should register at blackdogride.com.au

  • If you or someone you care for is experiencing a mental health crisis call Lifeline on 13 11 14.