Two events are being held in Waitaki next month to raise awareness of mental health issues and mobilise local efforts in support of mental health.
Both events reflect this year’s New Zealand Mental Health Awareness Week theme – “explore your way to wellness”.
On September 27, the Oamaru Opera House is hosting a screening of cycling documentary One Day Ahead and the following day there will be a community ride on the Alps 2 Ocean cycle trail from Weston to Elderslie estate, where there will be a barbecue and activities for children and families. Representatives from mental health services will also be present.
Riders will leave Weston at 10am, and organisers hope there will be a large turn-out for the Ride to Wellbeing which is gentle enough for cyclists of all abilities.
The ride along the Alps 2 Ocean cycle trail builds on the success of last year’s events for Mental Health Awareness Week in Oamaru, co-ordinated by the Safer Waitaki mental health and addictions network.
Safer Waitaki co-ordinator Helen Algar said she was approached by Terry Hannan and the Oamaru Coffee Riders who were looking at organising a community bike ride.
“We decided to .. create a community event for Mental Health Awareness Week 2019, as a way of bringing people together,” Mrs Algar said.
“With the support of community organisations and sponsors the Ride to Wellbeing became a reality.”
Waitaki Mayor Gary Kircher, who is taking part in the ride, congratulated organisers for their vision and work to promote better mental health and wellness in the district.
“This is such a cool event,” Mr Kircher said.
“I’m looking forward to getting out on our amazing cycle trail and joining everyone for what promises to be a most excellent outing.”
Mr Hannan and the Coffee Riders, an Oamaru social bike club, will be in charge of logistics and keeping an eye out for any stragglers.
“[We] are enthusiastic about being involved with such a worthwhile community event,” Mr Hannan said.
Everyone is welcome at the activities at Elderslie estate – and people are encouraged to drive to the event if they are not able to cycle.
The One Day Ahead screening starts at 7pm on September 27.
Riding royalty will be in the form of Steven Fish, who stars in the documentary, and cyclist Johnny van Leeuwen who, with wife Hayley, plans to ride the Alps 2 Ocean cycle trail from Mt Cook to Oamaru that day and will talk about his cycling career and record-breaking endeavours.
Tickets are $25 (+ fee) from TicketDirect and the Oamaru Opera House, with all money going to Mental Health New Zealand.