Ride sends a message

CMHA’s Ride Don’t Hide event takes place at Coldstream’s Creekside Park Sunday.

Canada’s national police force is hitting the beat to spread awareness about mental health.

The RCMP have developed a video urging other organizations and residents to join the Canadian Mental Health Association’s Ride Don’t Hide event, which takes place at Coldstream’s Creekside Park Sunday.

“Support from organizations like the RCMP is integral to Ride Don’t Hide’s success and demonstrates a commitment to the psychological health and safety of its employees,” said Peter Coleridge, CMHA national chief executive officer.

“More people are now talking about mental health and mental illness, and we encourage everyone including companies and organizations to join the movement to eliminate discrimination and stigma and improve access to community-based programs and services across Canada.”

The RCMP video shares the story of assistant commissioner Gilles Moreau.

“I had issues with mental health in the past and I did contemplate suicide. It was only because my daughter needed me that I did not go through with it,” said Moreau.

“Because of our policing culture where everyone has to be strong and be a superhero, what I’m trying to do is break down that barrier. Underneath these red tunics, we are human beings first.”

The video can be found at http://bit.ly/1JdSgBE

Moreau’s goal is to address the discrimination and stigma surrounding mental illness within the RCMP, and highlight the importance for RCMP members to look after their mental health.

“The biggest challenge with mental illness is that, unlike a physical injury, you can’t see it. As we talk about mental health, its importance and the impact it has on every one of us, we are helping to remove the stigma,” he said.

The RCMP across B.C. will be taking part in Ride Don’t Hide, forming teams and participating in various locations.

The Vernon ride is open to cyclists of all ages and skill levels, with registration at 8 a.m., a warm-up at 9:30 a.m. and the ride beginning at 9:45 a.m. That will be followed by a barbecue and prizes.

Registration and donations can be made online at http://ridedonthide.com/bc/ride/vernon/.

CMHA’s Vernon branch has been in operation since 1959. For information, go to www.vernon.cmha.bc.ca/