In May, psychiatrists, psychologists, and mental health nurses will set out on motorcycles from Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane covering 16,000km around Australia over six weeks; all in the name of improving rural mental health.
Dubbed Psychs on Bikes, Founder and Sydney psychiatrist Dr Joseph Dunn highlights “unfortunately depression and suicide rates are much higher in rural areas than urban ones,” he said.
As well as being dyed-in-the-wool motorcycle enthusiasts, the team recognises that travelling via two wheels opens dialogue and engagement with people along the route.
“Our motorcycles are great conversation starters because people can be quite apprehensive about talking to a psychologist or psychiatrist.”
The medicos will visit cattle stations in central Queensland and the Northern Territory to engage hundreds of staff in conversations about their own emotional wellbeing.
Psychs on Bikes offers free health checks to target what Dunn calls the four silent killers: hypertension, diabetes, depression, and alcohol.
Bernadette Burke, from the Consolidated Pastoral Company, emphasises the real need for the mental health support in rural and remote regions.
“The isolation of a cattle station can compound mental health issues. Having Psychs on Bikes visit starts a conversation that our staff may not otherwise have.”
Snag’s career in motoring journalism spans 29 years with stints at major bike mags Australian Road Rider, Motorcycle Trader and AMCN along with contributions to just about every other outlet worth a hill of beans. He was editor of Unique Cars magazine and hosts his legendary podcast ‘Snag Says’ when he gets off his date.