Motorcyclists and men’s mental health: a ride for awareness
Although motorcylists and men’s mental health are the focus of a rally and ride across Houston slated for Saturday, others are invited too.
The Ride for Mental Health from Gallery Furniture North Freeway to the Grand Parkway store in Richmond will aim to raise mental health awareness and funds for Peace of Mind Foundation, which is a nonprofit Elizabeth McIngvale started to help those battling obsessive compulsive disorder.
McIngvale, the daughter of “Mattress Mack” Jim McIngvale, has a Ph.D. in social work and has seen the effects of mental illness in her career but also in her own life: she was diagnosed with OCD at 12. Now through Peace of Mind, she supports others. McIngvale said the second annual ride for both motorcyclists and passengers of other vehicles focuses on starting a healthy discussion about the important issue of mental health, especially in men.
“I think there’s just so much stigma particularly in mental health in general, but in particular around men, right? There’s this notion of we have to be macho or we really shouldn’t be talking about our feelings. And we don’t know how to process them anyways, and so we just suppress them,” she said. “And the reality is in fact especially when we look at suicide rates among men and among our veterans, there’s such a need for us to have be able to have open, safe, candid, organic conversations about mental illness.”
People can look at others on the outside and think they have everything all together, but McIngvale said those assumptions can be wrong and that communities need to broach mental illness more as well as get the message out that life can go on and get better for the many that are suffering.
“I think mainly it’s just about, you know, having a conversation and knowing that treatment is available and that it works. And I think that’s all that we’re about, is we want to allow people to speak up because speaking up also means recognition that people with mental illness are you, they’re me. They’re our siblings and our loved ones, and we can live successful, manageable lives despite the diagnosis.”
May is Mental Health Awareness Month, so McIngvale said that makes it a great time to have the ride because people seem to be more willing to come out and support related events. Also, typically she said the weather this month is nice. This year, the forecast looks questionable, but the team is hoping for clear skies and dry roads.
While McIngvale said mental health events typically bring out those working in the field or directly affected, she encourages everyone to join in, learn more and work toward a better life for people facing mental illness because in reality all Americans know someone who is struggling and might need help, maybe even you.