A group of Psychs on Bikes, led by Sydney psychiatrist Dr Joe Dunn, rolled into town on Friday afternoon as part of their trip from Perth to Sydney to raise awareness of rural mental health issues.
Dr Joe and his Psychs on Bikes co-riders have been doing “big rides” since 2011 to raise awareness of mental health in rural areas.
He said he is seeing things slowly changing.
“What I’m noticing is men in particular are becoming more open and honest and more comfortable in terms of talking about their own emotional distress,” Dr Joe said.
“The four silent killers in the bush are hypertension, diabetes, alcoholism and depression. Suicide rates in rural areas are one and a half to twice the numbers in metropolitan areas.
As part of their visit, they offered free men’s health checks.
“During the checks it’s very common to find people with high blood pressure and diabetes that they didn’t know about,” Dr Joe said.
The checks also allow an opportunity for men to talk about their mental health.
Dr Joe said he was very impressed with the welcome their group had received with Friday’s warm reception arranged by the Mental Health Network chair, Laura Ah-See.
Laura said it had taken some organising but she was very pleased with the turn out which included special guest, former NRL star David Peachey, who is an ambassador for tackling domestic violence.