Steve Dixon is well aware of the effects of depression on individuals, families and the community.
In his extended family and in his volunteer work with SA Ambulance he deals with mental illness and its consequences.
This weekend he will join a group of motorcycle riders for the Black Dog Ride, an event that has been held around Australia since 2009 to raise awareness of depression and suicide prevention and this year reaches Kangaroo Island.
The National 1 Day Ride is on Sunday - a nationwide event with 17 rides across every State and Territory. Organiser Graeme Noad visited Kangaroo Island last year to start the process of holding a ride here.
Mr Dixon was first contacted by Mr Noad as a member of the KI Motor Club to see if he could help organise KI riders to join the National 1 Day Ride.
Mr Dixon co-opted fellow rider Graeme Olsen and they spread the word. So far, 40 local riders have signed up to join the 14 travelling from NSW this week for four days of events.
Meanwhile, local mental health worker Philippa Kneebone has arranged a program of discussions about depression and mental illness around the island, with councsellor Chris Rule, of the Black Dog Institute.
The group of riders and counsellors will visit Parndana School on Thursday afternoon, Raptor Domain on Friday, hold a tea and talk at Kingscote Football Club on Friday night and enjoy a blues band at Rustic Blue on Saturday before setting out for the National 1 Day Ride from the Kingscote memorial gardens on Sunday morning at 8.30am. They’ll head down to Flinders Chase, with morning tea at Rustic Blue and afternoon tea at the Parndana Hotel.
To find out more about Black Dog Ride, go to www.blackdogride.com.au where you can register, donate to Lifeline or check out the weekend’s program. Shauna Black