Students ride to end mental health stigma

Congratulations to the UBC Psychology Students team who sought to fight the stigma surrounding mental illness at Ride Don’t Hide on June 24! The team joined 7,750 individuals from across Canada riding for mental health, raising $1,830,000 for the Canadian Mental Health Association.

The largest mental health bike ride in Canada, Ride Don’t Hide raises funds for a variety of community mental health programs and services, and helps to eliminate the stigma of mental illness by inviting participants to ride in plain sight.

Six UBC psychology undergraduate students grabbed their bikes and joined Katherine Moore, student engagement coordinator in the department of psychology and recent UBC psychology grad, for the Sunday morning ride. The team was passionate about the cause and surpassed their $500 fundraising goal, collecting a total of $620 for mental health resources.

Overcoming stigma and normalizing the act of asking for help was a driving force for the team. “The stigma around metal illness and seeking psychological support stifles our health and potential for personal growth,” says Katherine Moore.

“Events like this are important because they create an opportunity for people to demonstrate support for another way of thinking, it tells people that it’s okay to struggle, it’s okay to get help and that we accept you.”

For many of the riders taking part in this event, it was a step in their own mental health journey. “I did it for myself. As a reminder that it’ll be okay,” said VJ Bernales, psychology student on the team. “We all have our low points, breakdowns and disappointments. Life can knock us down. Some people can recover on their own, whereas others need more time and additional support. But that’s okay. Seeking help should not be something to be ashamed of.”

Bruce Robinson, Board of Directors at the Canadian Mental Health Association, shared his mental health story with the Psychology Students team

Moore, who has previously been recognized as a champion for student mental health, found the opportunity to ride with the students inspiring. “I felt like they were taking a stand to change the way they approached their wellbeing, and also to turn their lives into something they believed in or yearned for. I’m grateful to have had the opportunity to witness and foster that.”