It’s quite ironic: it can be much harder for people to talk to family & friends when they are suffering depression and anxiety, than it is for them to talk to a stranger at the end of a telephone line.
That’s something I know first-hand through volunteering four hours a fortnight at Lifeline.
I moved to Australia with my employer about ten years ago. I wasn’t complaining when my company put me here, and there’s certainly no going back now. Being able to ride in non-freezing conditions year-round is something I love.
Back home in the UK, I’d been aware of organisations that helped people in mental health crisis but had never quite taken the step towards volunteering.
So when I came here, and heard about how much good Lifeline was doing in the community, I thought I’d give it a go and get involved.
Personally, my motivation was to keep things real and not become too self-absorbed; working in a busy job, in the corporate world, it is easy to take things for granted and forget how privileged you actually are. Being at Lifeline reminds me of that when I’m helping people who struggle with problems far more significant than my own.
And through my volunteering, I’ve realised just how significant the Bobbo is for helping people out in crisis.
At the moment, there are too many calls for volunteers like myself to answer - and people who desperately need to talk to someone are sometimes missing out.
But by riding in the Bobbo and raising funds for Lifeline, you’ll be enabling the essential training for volunteers to take calls – I can tell you both how important the cause is, and how much your effort really does make a difference.
One thing I often find is that people can be exceptionally hard on themselves and fail to recognise their own qualities & strengths, often coping with very difficult problems over long periods of time. Pointing that out in the right way, and at the right time in a call, can often give people a much-needed boost.
We can’t solve everyone’s problem – often they are complex and long-standing - but we can listen and support the caller, and sometimes our interactions with people are the first steps towards them getting the professional help they need.
When you ride in the Bobbo this March, you’ll be making an incredible difference. Why not take the opportunity today to send out a few extra messages to your family, friends and colleagues? Suicide and depression don’t discriminate… which means beating mental health crises is a cause that everyone can get behind.
Obviously, I can’t wait to get out and ride. The Bobbo has become an institution, and it’s so well organised. You get to cycle down roads you'd not otherwise explore and see some great countryside – all in the company of friends and fellow cyclists.
But let me encourage you to make another push today raising funds for a vital cause. I’ll see you out there in just a few weeks!