Mental health issues affect everyone everywhere and in every walk of life. You may not personally suffer from any type of mental health issue but I guarantee you that you know someone who does. Even if you don’t know about it. With all the tragic global events of 2020, it is more important now than ever to do a mental health check.
Mental health issues have always carried a dark stigma with them that keeps many of those suffering from speaking out about it. That is one of the biggest hurdles to overcome. Breaking the silence.
How do you break that silence? You start the conversation, be open and honest, engage those around you in conversations about mental health. Find someone to lean on when you need it. Be someone to lean on when they need it. Stop the stigma.
A champion in the fight to break the silence is Kris Goodman with his Patch it Forward initiative and the Mental Health Awareness Ride. A few years ago Kris’ family suffered a tragic loss when a close friend of the family committed suicide at just 18 years old. A devastating loss for everyone.
Not long after, a decision was made to help make a difference. Kris needed to step up and do something to help. To break the silence and end the stigma. To let everyone know he is there to lean on when in need. To open the discussion and talk about mental health issues. In Kris’ words, “You rob suicide of its power, by talking about it.”
He started by creating a simple patch to wear on his motorcycle vest that says Lean on Me. A simple and clear sign that he is there for you. The patch is not just for him though, it was for everyone. He calls it Patch it Forward. Selling the Lean on Me patches for $10 each and donating all proceeds to Klinic Manitoba in support of the Manitoba Suicide Prevention & Support Line. With over 50 patches sold (and counting) it is clear this initiative is making an impact and helping build awareness.
The Patch it Forward initiative was just the starting point though. Kris, along with his wife Ruth-Ann and friend Rod, got together and created the Suicide Awareness Ride from Winnipeg to Brandon to double his efforts. With great attendance showing up to participate each year, now in its official 5th year, the ride has evolved into a poker derby-style ride with card stops in several Manitoba towns.
The 2020 Suicide Awareness Poker Run takes place on September 12. Poker hands are $20 and everyone is welcome – no drama. You can pre-register online at PatchItForward.ca or in person at Adventure Power Products between 10 and 11 am on ride day.
The route map is shown below and will be provided at registration with card stops in Steinbach, Hadashville, Lac Du Bonnet, Pine Falls, and Beausejour. This is an excellent cause to get behind and I support it as much as possible every year.