A cavalcade of 800 cyclists arrived in Derry this week as part of the annual all-Ireland Cycle Against Suicide which aims to promote the message that “it’s OK not to feel OK; and it’s absolutely OK to ask for help.”
The epic 1,400km, 14-day charity cycle, which set off from Belfast, arrived in Derry on Tuesday before heading to Omagh and Enniskillen and then on to the southern tip of Ireland. It’s due to finish in Dublin on May 10.
This is the third year of the cycle, organised by charity, Cycle Against Suicide, and covers an average of 100km each day.
The peloton will visit towns and cities throughout the island of Ireland, promoting positive mental health and well-being with presentations planned in schools and communities along the route.
It is expected that up to 10,000 people from across Ireland will take part in this year’s event with cyclists able to participate in as many or as few legs of the cycle as they wish.
Established by Irish entrepreneur Jim Breen, Cycle Against Suicide aims to break the stigma associated with depression and mental health problems.
It works in partnership with local communities and schools across the island of Ireland to deliver a range of organised initiatives to encourage communities to become actively involved in mental health promotion.
It supports people in need by directing them to local mental health and suicide prevention organisations throughout Ireland, including NIAMH - the Northern Ireland Association for Mental Health.
Jim Breen, founder of Cycle Against Suicide said: “Having over 800 cyclists officially start the mammoth 28 day, 1,400 kms bike ride is a fitting start to this year’s event and shows the commitment of people from across the island of Ireland in standing shoulder to shoulder to break the cycle of suicide and tackle the negative perceptions associated with mental health issues.”
For more information on the Cycle Against Suicide bike ride, visit www.cycleagainstsuicide.com