Ride don’t Hide – Biking for Mental Health
This summer, Mental Health Camp speaker Michael Schratter will be kick-starting a cycling circumnavigation of the globe to fight the stigma surrounding mental illness. A social columnist/teacher/superhero, Michael will document every step of his voyage with help from his blog, twitter, facebook, smoke signal and carrier pigeon. In addition to cranking up awareness around the world and educating youth in every continent, Michael will be donating all proceeds to the Canadian Mental Health Association.
More than drinking, more than drugs, more than crime or cancer, suicide is now the second leading cause of death in Canadians 15-24 years old. On Sunday August 1, 2010, Michael Schratter, a Vancouver teacher and social columnist will embark on a one year global journey, cycling 40,000 km, crossing 6 continents and 30 countries, in an effort to bring awareness to mental illness and help shatter the stigmas that surround it. All gross proceeds raised during the campaign will go to the Canadian Mental Health Association BC Division.
From the road, Michael will be sharing his story and those of others, talking to students and the public to open the discussion of mental health in classrooms. “Canada’s youth suicide rate is already the third highest in the industrialized world” says Michael. “We must do everything we can to ensure these kids have solid support networks and above all, a sense of freedom to discuss mental health.”
Documenting his travels through the campaign blog along with twitter and facebook, followers will be able to witness first-hand every crack and cranny of this grueling expedition. “As much as the blog is to document my progress, above all it’s a platform for people to break their own silence,” says Schratter. “Creating a safe place for people to take a stand, and share their own struggles is the first step in empowering those affected by mental illness. Through education and understanding we can strip the stigma” he finished.
As someone who understands the pain and debilitating fear of discrimination that accompanies mental illness, Michael has vowed to do his part to help dispel the misconceptions from which stigma arises. In a campaign to rid the shame and bring reassurance to those affected, this endeavor is more than cycling trip; it is an international movement for personal rights.
Raising awareness, expectations, and funds, Michael Schratter will help shatter the stigma that is literally killing our youth.
(From Pamela Groberman’s press release)