A Fort McMurray couple is getting ready to set out across Canada on a motorcycle in an attempt to raise awareness for mental-health supports.
David Hynes said he wanted to encourage people to reach out for help if they were struggling with mental health after three of his acquaintances died by suicide in a three-week period.
“We just really wanted to create something [where] people could feel comfortable about speaking out,” said Hynes. “And then also having a support system.”
He and his wife, Rochelle, started a Facebook group called A Ride Down AddyLayne, named after their two children.
The group has almost 3,000 members, many of whom have shared their own stories of struggles with mental health.
Hynes said he has struggled with depression and anxiety, and has been on and off medication to help him cope with it.
“There is no need to be alone in it, because there are people out there who are in the same situation as you,” he said.
Members of the Facebook group are offering support and advice to anyone who chooses to share their story.
“It has been helpful to us,” Hynes said, “because it actually makes us want to do this even more.”
The couple is also raising money for the Canadian Mental Health Association, and so far has raised $900.
The pair plans to travel from Fort McMurray into British Columbia, and from there across the country to Newfoundland and New Brunswick before returning home.
Hynes estimates the trip will take about three weeks, and they’ll ride the motorcycle from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. every day.
It’s the longest ride the couple has ever been on.
“Honestly, when we first decided to do this I was completely terrified,” he said.
They’ve posted their itinerary on the Facebook group and they’re encouraging other motorcyclists to join them on the drive.
Along the way, they’ll be posting videos and photos, and answering questions that come into the Facebook group.
They plan to leave on June 23 and expect to be back in Fort McMurray by July 12.