Jeremy McGoran (right) and widow Mare McHale. Submitted photo

Honouring McGoran by supporting Ride Don’t Hide

Ride Don’t Hide is a fundraiser for the CMHA with the goal of ending the stigma around mental illness

The Canadian Mental Health Association said the best way to honour Jeremy McGoran is to continue his passionate support of the upcoming Ride Don’t Hide event.

“Jeremy’s passing is a huge loss to the community, the CMHA family and to the many people who were impacted and inspired by his personal story” said Colleen Caron, board president, CMHA South Okanagan-Similkameen. “Jeremy will be forever remembered for his bravery and honesty in speaking openly about his struggles in the hope of motivating others to do likewise. We express our sincere condolences to his wife Mare and son Thomas, extended family and the larger community.”

McGoran, died by suicide, on June 9. He was an outspoken advocate about his struggles with depression and anxiety leading him to become a member of the CMHA South Okanagan-Similkameen board of directors and spokesperson for the Penticton Ride Don’t Hide event. Held on June 25, Ride Don’t Hide is a fundraiser for the CMHA with the goal of ending the stigma around mental illness.

Related: Fundraiser planned for McGoran’s family

The CMHA estimated 150 people from Penticton and the surrounding area will join the estimated 10,000 people from across Canada who are pedalling in their own cities towards bringing more awareness about mental health and the support that is available.

Mental illness affects people from all walks of life. Living with and recovering from a mental illness often includes periods of illness and wellness. Sometimes the accumulated weight of these challenges can feel overwhelming but help is available.

“In Canada male suicide is the leading cause of death across several age categories and 3,000 families suffer a devastating personal loss each year. I strongly believe that the high mortality rate is in a large part a result of a society that still teaches the false and foolish notion that men should stay silent when in times of emotional turmoil,” said Michael Schratter, founder and national spokesperson for Ride Don’t Hide. “It is my hope that events such as Ride Don’t Hide will address these unhealthy stereotypes and put an end to the shame and stigma experienced by too many men.”

The CMHA is encouraging South Okanagan residents to come out and participate in Ride Don’t Hide on June 25 and celebrate McGoran’s legacy by joining together to support one another and continuing to fight the stigma of mental illness one pedal at a time.

“The tragic loss of Jeremy McGoran this past weekend both saddens me and galvanizes me to take further action,” says Michael Schratter, founder and national spokesperson for Ride Don’t Hide. “Jeremy was fortunate to have the support of his family and colleagues throughout the management of his illness and I would like to extend my deepest condolences to them at this difficult time.”

Ride Don’t Hide is open to cyclists of all ages and skill levels. Registration is $45 for youth and adults and free for children 12 and under. Register online, or find a ride closest to you at www.ridedonthide.com. You can also register on the day of the event at 8 a.m. and the ride starts at 8:30 a.m. at KVR Middle School in Penticton. A free barbeque is included with registration.

If you are experiencing thoughts of suicide, please reach out for immediate help. Here are some resources available in B.C.:

Crisis Centre network in BC – 1-800-SUICIDE (1-800-784-2433)

Heretohelp.bc.ca — www.heretohelp.bc.ca/factsheet/suicide

Canadian Association for Suicide Prevention (CASP) http://suicideprevention.ca/news-resources/

For information regarding working through grief after a suicide death: http://suicideprevention.ca/coping-with-suicide-loss/suicide-grief/