Mental health to be put first as cyclists gear up for epic ride across WA in aid of youth

Kellie BalaamNarrogin Observer
Email Kellie Balaam
Riders pass through Narrogin.
Camera IconRiders pass through Narrogin.

Hundreds of cyclists are getting ready to don their helmets in a bid to put mental health first as training begins for the 2021 Hawaiian Ride for Youth.

The annual event will see businessmen and women tackle a 700km ride across regional WA from March 23-27 in an effort to raise awareness and funds to support youth at risk of suicide and mental health challenges.

About 25 teams consisting of more than 140 cyclists will ride three routes — the Coastal, Inland and Wheatbelt routes from Albany to Perth.

During the journey, riders will visit 20 regional high schools and engage with students to share personal stories and communicate the importance of positive mental health.

Riders will stop at Narrogin Senior High School on March 25.

Hawaiian Ride for Youth chairwoman Christina Matthews said the event continued to create conversations about the mental health challenges faced by young people.

“Not only does the ride go a long way in raising funds to support young Western Australians, but it also acts as a fundamental platform to allow for incredibly important conversations around mental health and the ongoing challenges our youth are facing today,” she said.

“As riders, we’re all very cognisant of the role we’re playing in improving the lives of young people around the State.

“We all share a common passion, and that is to ensure we are doing everything we can to decrease the number of young people being lost to suicide each week.”

In 2020, the Hawaiian Ride for Youth was cancelled because of COVID-19.

Now in its 19th year, the event has raised more than $24 million since its inception to help Youth Focus provide free mental health services.

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