Brenda will be riding in her second year for Ride Don’t Hide. She loves the event and feels like she is truly making a difference. As time has passed she has noticed that people now have a better understanding of mental health and just how prevalent it is, as we all know someone that struggles with at least one form of it.
Brenda first became involved with CMHA’s Ride Don’t Hide in 2017, “I am an avid cyclist and am always looking for new rides. When I was presented with the opportunity to ride in support of mental health, I immediately knew it was something I wanted to do. Ride Don’t Hide is a wonderfully organized ride with a lot of enthusiastic people.” Brenda registered and joined the “Vaughan Hears the Gears” team. They ride in memory of another rider who struggled with mental health issues. The first year Brenda rode she was welcomed with rain, hail, wind, and sunshine in what she described as a four-season ride, but through everyone’s support they made it through with smiles on their faces.
Mental health is an integral part of Brenda’s life; it has impacted both her and her family as her daughter struggles with an eating disorder. Through her family’s journey of seeking help for her daughter, Brenda has learned that there is not enough support in Canada to deal with eating disorders. Waiting lists for help can be up to a yearlong. She does not deny that there is indeed support for those who suffer from depression, anxiety, and addiction, but merely the focus for help is on those issues. “Many other areas need to be improved upon, I know it will take time, but the hope is that we will see changes in the near future.”
Ride Don’t Hide has given Brenda the opportunity to raise funds for CMHA Peel Dufferin and the programs that assist people who are affected by mental health, she feels like she is making a difference and advancing the help for those who are suffering from all mental health challenges. “Being involved and speaking to people about the charity ride has impressed upon me that there are so many people touched by mental illness. We all struggle at some point in our lives.” Brenda believes that everyone deserves the chance to be happy and that we all need to be more courteous and empathetic to one another. With words of support, she says “we need to be open about mental health, don’t hide in shame or fear. People are much more accepting than you might think. Don’t be afraid to ask for help.”