There is still a social stigma that surrounds depression and anxiety which pressures us into trying to deal with our problems on our own, rather than reaching out and seeking help and support from those around us. This stigma, which isolates so many people who suffer from mental health issues, only ever makes things worse. Ben Woods knows about this stigma all too well, having tragically lost his brother, Jase, to mental illness 18 months ago.
Ben and Jase dreamed about one day travelling Australia, and after Jase’s passing, Ben decided he would still do the trip. Starting on June 10, Ben plans to circumnavigate Australia on his bike, including visiting Uluru, covering over 18,000 kilometres in 180 days. As well as farewelling his brother, Ben is using this trip to raise awareness for depression, anxiety and suicide prevention. He wants to fight the stigma that leads so many people to believe they have to fight on their own, to show his support for those who may be struggling with depression, and to stand by others who have lost a loved one. Pairing with the Black Dog institute, Ben hopes he can help save lives by pushing through this challenging ride, and even if a single life is saved, he says, “It’ll all be worth it.”
Just to make Ben’s ride that bit easier, he has received confirmation that upon completion of his ride, he will hold the world record for the longest ride in a single country.
Ben is trying to fit in training and planning around full time work, so any support he can get is greatly appreciated. He is currently supported by Pushys, Letsgo Campers, Endura Nutrition, FDC Construction, Firefly, Northrop, Galabid, Clinton Recruitment, Coates Hire, Loui Carr and Interspan. Every contribution matters, so if you’d like to support Ben’s cause and make this ride possible, head to www.rideforjase.org. Ben is also helping to raise funds for the Black Dog Institute, a not-for-profit organisation that specialises in the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of mental health disorders.
Ben hopes to interact with as many people as he can along the way, by talking at schools and to members of the communities he rides through, inspiring people around Australia to stand up against the stigma. If you want the chance to get to know Ben and hear more about his incredible story, you can join him on the bike as he passes through your town, or head to his Facebook page, Ride For Jase, for more information.
If you or someone you know is suffering from depression, please see your GP or call Lifeline on 13 11 14. The Black Dog Institute website is also a great resource for those seeking help or information on mental health and wellbeing.
Ride safe, Ben!