Motorcycle riders from Bathurst and surrounding districts hit the road to raise awareness of depression and suicide prevention on Sunday.
Around 120 people took part in the Bathurst to Forbes leg of the Black Dog 1 Day Ride.
The Bathurst leg, which was hosted by the Bathurst and District (BAD) Hobos, was one of 31 rides held across the nation to show support and raise funds for Lifeline and mental health services.
Organiser and BAD Hobos president Rose Hancock said she was thrilled with the turnout for the ride, which left from Alan Morse Park shortly after 10am.
“Honestly, when I signed up to run this I thought we would get like 30 people. Getting over 100 is just amazing,” she said.
After the group left Bathurst, they stopped in at Cowra for morning tea, then went on to Forbes, where they had lunch at Lake Forbes.
Mrs Hancock said the strong turnout showed depression and suicide had affected many people within the region.
“Everyone you speak to has a story about a family member or friend who has depression. Many of them also have a suicide story, which is very sad,” she said. “There is a lot of suicide in rural and regional areas, so it’s important to do this ride and get this message of support out to rural areas.”
“If what we are doing today saves one life, it will be excellent.”
Lifeline Central West centre manager Bronwyn Giovenco said suicide remains the leading cause of death for Australians aged 15 to 44.
Mrs Giovenco said the funds donated to Lifeline would go towards training new phone councillors.
“Our aim is to be able to take 24,000 calls in the Central West a year. Nationally, at the moment, we are taking around a million calls.”
Mrs Giovenco said suicide rates were greater in rural areas, especially for farmers who were affected by tough conditions. She said many of the phone calls Lifeline receives were from women, concerned about the men in their lives.
Lifeline: 13 11 14, MensLine: 1300 789 978, Beyondblue: 1300 224 636.