Charity calls on cyclists to back men's mental health in 'Wheels of Change' events across Ireland

Charity calls on cyclists to back men's mental health in 'Wheels of Change' events across Ireland

President Michael D. Higgins with Cycle Against Suicide volunteers on World Suicide Prevention Day. Photo: Maxwells

A charity is challenging cyclists to do their bit to raise awareness and funds for men's mental health, particularly middle-aged and older men - the demographics most at risk of suicide in Ireland. 

Cycle Against Suicide is running the 'Wheels of Change' events to spread the message to men of all ages that it is "okay not to feel okay, and absolutely okay to ask for help". The events are organised in the lead-up to Bike4Life on September 10, which is world suicide prevention day. 

One event organised for Cork before the big day, is inviting everyone to take part in a family friendly cycling challenge called 'Cork Spin-off'. It will start at the Marina Market, lead into a 42km cycle, and finish up with talks, music, and on-site counselling back at the market. 

The aim of the event is to demystify mental wellbeing in Ireland, and show people different avenues they can take towards getting help. 

There is also a series of coast-to-coast cycles organised for September 10, as well as an event in Portugal towards the end of the month, leading into October. 

The Dublin to Galway event is a challenging 220km cycle that will take place over two days. Cyclists will be grouped according to ability, so people can complete the cycle at a fast or leisurely pace. 

There will be an overnight camp at Portlick Scout Campsite. You can find out more about these events here. 

Caroline Lafferty, the CEO of Cycle Against Suicide, says that the charity wants to set the wheels in motion for positive mental health, particularly in middle-aged and older men - the demographics most at risk of suicide in Ireland. 

”While suicide is a complex issue, it can be prevented," she said. "Our education in schools, communities and workplaces helps people find support, look after each other, and build resilience to mental health struggles.

"The events are spreading the message to men of all ages that asking for help is never a sign of weakness, but a sign of strength," Mrs Lafferty added. 

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