Ride Don't Hide raises $676,000 to support programs for mental health

Thousands of Calgarians participate in national community cycling event with proceeds benefitting Canadian Mental Health Association's mental health programming

CALGARY, June 22, 2014 /CNW/ - Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA) branches across Canada raised $676,000 through the third annual Ride Don't Hide event held today.

Started in BC, the event has grown into a national event. This year, 3,519 riders participated in 20 community rides in BC, Alberta, Saskatchewan and Ontario.

More than 120 cyclists participated in the Calgary community ride at Springbank Park For All Seasons. Funds raised will be used to support the CMHA's mental health programs.

The Ride Don't Hide movement began with BC educator Michael Schratter who lives with bipolar disorder. Schratter cycled 40,000 km around the globe, inspiring millions and raising $100,000 for CMHA.

"It's heartening to watch Ride Don't Hide continue to grow, engage and inspire so many people across Canada," said Schratter. "Never in a thousand years could I have expected that it would become the movement it is today." 

For CMHA Calgary executive director Laureen MacNeil, this year's event demonstrates the ongoing shift in how Canadians view mental illness and those living with mental health issues.

"As a society we can't afford to hide; we need to become completely comfortable talking about mental health and openly discussing mental illness," said MacNeil. "The continued growth of Ride Don't Hide demonstrates that we are on our way, but we still have more road to cover."

Approximately one in five Canadians will experience mental illness in their lifetime, according to CMHA. Studies demonstrate that exercise can help improve mental health by releasing mood-enhancing chemicals, as well as boosting confidence, self-esteem, social supports and physical health.

CMHA is still accepting donations online at www.ridedonthide.com or through its local branches. Contact 403-297-1700 for more information.

About Ride Don't Hide

Ride Don't Hide is an annual community bike ride hosted by the Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA) in celebration and support of mental health for all, with the goal of ending the stigma around mental illness. First launched with Michael Schratter's 40,000 km ride around the globe in 2010, Ride Don't Hide is a growing national movement with community bike rides in 20 cities across BC, Alberta, Saskatchewan and Ontario. This year CMHA aims to engage more than 4,500 participants and over a dozen schools, and raise $800,000 for mental health programs. Join the movement and find your local community ride at ridedonthide.com.

About the Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA)
Canadian Mental Health Association is one of Canada's oldest and most established national mental health charities. Our vision is mentally healthy people in a healthy society. As the nation-wide leader and champion for mental health, CMHA facilitates access to the resources people require to maintain and improve mental health and community integration, build resilience, and support recovery from mental illness or addiction. We do this by building capacity, influencing policy, providing services and developing resources. CMHA promotes mental health for all and supports the resilience and recovery of people experiencing mental illness or addiction. To learn more visit www.cmha.ca.

SOURCE: Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA)

For further information: Media Contact: Jennifer Quan, Marketing and Communications Manager, Canadian Mental Health Association, BC Division, 604-688-3234 ext. 224 or 604-724-2093 or jennifer.quan@cmha.bc.ca

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Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA)

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