Start your engines: Riders bring the 'Black Dog' to heel across Peel

More than 200 motorcyclists will take to roads throughout the Peel region on March 17 for Black Dog Ride’s annual suicide prevention ride, the 'Black Dog Ride 1-Dayer'.

With thousands of riders hitting the highways across Australia for the special event, the fourth annual Baldivis to Dwellingup leg will take off at 10am on Sunday.

Gaining popularity each year, the only ride in the metropolitan region begins from Bunnings in Baldivis and comes to a halt at Dwellingup Primary School.

Riders will cover 150km through Pinjarra, Coolup and Waroona before enjoying a lunch made by the Lions Club at the end of the event.

Event coordinator Chris Glover said the ride was an opportunity to raise funds for suicide prevention programs while reducing the stigma surrounding men with depression. 

His team has raised tens of thousands of dollars already for the Black Dog Ride that help to fund programs including Lifeline, Suicide Call Back Service and Mental First Aid.

After personally experiencing the tragedy of losing a loved one to suicide, Mr Glover helped to create the local ride in 2016.

"One of our friends took his own life so we decided to do something and a group of us got together to start another leg of the Black Dog Ride," Mr Glover said.

"It raises funds for suicide prevention but it's more so about getting the word out there that there are people out there that care and can help.

"There is a bit of a stigma about depression, how men shouldn't cry or be upset so a lot of guys try and keep it to themselves and put on a brave face and just suffer in the background."

Riders will meet in Baldivis for breakfast at 8am where a number of dignitaries and those affected by depression will tell their stories.

Engines will start at 10am for a ride in solidarity with those who are shadowed by the black dog of depression.

Mr Glover said many of the motorcyclists themselves, despite their tough exterior, had been to some dark places throughout their lives.

"It's just a way of saying that there are people out there that care about you and people out there that want to help," he said.

"It's a way to go out there and have a bit of fun and get them in a better frame of mind.

"The guys will come up to as and say thanks for putting it on and that they were in a dark place but this lifts their spirits going out with people on a ride in the same place."

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Suicide is the leading cause of death in Australians under the age of 45, with eight people taking their lives every day.

While the number of women committing suicide is rising, 80 per cent of all suicides in Australia are by men.

Black Dog Ride believes that fostering awareness of depression in communities is the best catalyst for preventing the tragedy of suicide.

It was established in 2009 by Steve Andrews who rode his motorcycle solo around Australia in 26 days to raise awareness of depression.

The mental health charity's '1-Dayer' event aims to unite people together under one banner with one voice on one single day to amplify a national message of depression awareness and suicide prevention.

All bikes are fitted with Black Dog Ride’s mascot Winston, a soft toy dog, who will join them for the ride.

Winston is named after Sir Winston Churchill, who famously diarised about his battles with the black dog of depression.

Registrations are still open for the Baldivis ride. For more information, to register or donate, visit Black Dog Ride’s website.

If you or someone you know needs urgent support, call Lifeline on 13 11 14, Suicide Call Back Service on 1300 659 467 or Kids Helpline (5 to 25 years) on 1800 55 1800.