Annual Ride Don’t Hide Continues Growing in the Sault

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The Canadian Mental Health Association Sault Ste. Marie hosted it’s fourth annual Ride Don’t Hide event Sunday morning.

This biking event is held in various places across the country and raises both money and awareness for reducing the stigma around mental health. This year’s ride raised money to expand the CHMA’s Talk Today program. This program focuses on providing mental health education, training and support to young athletes in the community.

CMHA Executive Director Annette Katajamaki said this year’s turnout almost tripled last year’s – there were 92 registered riders whereas last year there were only 36.

Ride Don't Hide
Ingird Atkinson is the Ride Champion for Sault Ste. Marie. She led the 25 km ride on Sunday. Photo by Megan Pounder/SaultOnline

Ingrid Atkinson is the Champion of the Sault Ste. Marie ride and the captain of TD Riders team who has taken part of the ride for the past four years. She said this ride is important to her because Ride Don’t Hide promotes a strong message to talk about your mental health instead of hiding it.

“I truly believe that physical fitness, getting involved, is so important for mental health and we’re trying to erase the stigma around mental health and get people talking about it, get out there, and no longer hide behind those issues.”

Ride Don't Hide
CMHA Executive Director Annette Katajamaki has been involved with the ride since it’s inception four years ago. Photo by Megan Pounder/SaultOnline.

Katajamaki said she thinks events like these are finally starting to break the silence around metal illness.

“Too many years and too many people are hiding behind mental health, and it kind of reminds me of when cancer first came out, nobody wanted to say anything about it, and now we’re in a state where people are much more willing to speak about their mental health, which is very very healthy.”

Katajamaki said the CMHA is proud to announce that they surpassed their fundraising goal of $15,000.

“As of today we were at $16,500, so we’re ecstatic, over the moon.”

For more information on the CMHA Sault Ste. Marie, visit their website at https://cmha.ca/branches/sault-ste-marie-branch