TEN cyclists “pedalled” a message of good mental health and suicide awareness when they rode into the city yesterday.

The cyclists were from Communication Action for Suicide Elimination (CASE) with Wagga a stop on their six-day, 585-kilometre bike tour from Hay to Canberra.

CASE secretary Ken Larkin said the regional bike tour was organised in response to the devastating stories of suicide coming out of remote areas, with each cyclist involved touched by the tragedy of suicide.

“It’s a passionate group,” Mr Larkin said.

“And looking at the statistics, suicide is a massive problem in Hay and surrounding regional areas.”bigstock_Road_To_Recovery_Sign_4438546

CASE was formed in 2011, in response to the high number of suicides in Hay, which saw six people take their own lives in two years.

The group now plans to train a number of Hay residents to be prevention counsellors trained in suicide risk and awareness.

Yesterday, a number of high-profile people including member for Riverina Michael McCormack, attended a small function at Westpac Bank for the bike tour, which saw the cyclists ride through Griffith and Narrandera.

Today, the cyclists will make their way to Gundagai then to Yass, before ending the ride in Canberra on Thursday  where the group will be met by member for Ginninderra, Mary Porter.

Wagga mayor Rod Kendall said the bike tour not only managed to raise awareness that suicide exists within the community  but was also offered tools for people wanting to help.

“The tour is about advocating the starting of a conversation,” Councillor Kendall said.

This article first appeared on ‘The Daily Advertiser’ on 15 April 2014.


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