First Minister Arlene Foster has backed an epic round-Ireland challenge aimed at breaking the cycle of suicide on the island of Ireland.
The fourth annual Cycle Against Suicide will cover fifteen counties and almost 700 miles over two weeks from Sunday 24th April 2016 with over 7,000 cyclists expected to participate in the gruelling charity ride.
Cycle Against Suicide, founded by Irish entrepreneur Jim Breen, brings together cyclists of all abilities united in their desire to demonstrate that, shoulder to shoulder, they can break the cycle of suicide.
Over 800 people die by suicide in Ireland each year, with over 300 in Northern Ireland alone.
First Minister Arlene Foster said: “I am delighted to support Cycle Against Suicide with its fourth annual bike ride. The charity has been doing tremendous work to break down the barriers associated with mental health and suicide by spreading the message that ‘It’s OK not to feel OK; and it’s absolutely OK to ask for help’. I commend the organisers who volunteer their energies and the participants well in the challenge and I trust it will be an incredibly successful event.”
Beginning in Phoenix Park, Dublin, Cycle Against Suicide will take in southern and border counties of Northern Ireland, hopping in from Monaghan, with stops in Portadown, Cookstown, Omagh, Stranorlar, Glenties and Donegal Town.
The cyclists will then head down through Sligo, through the middle of Ireland and rounding off at Tipperary, Waterford and Wexford, before finishing up in Dublin, at the Royal Hospital in Kilmainham on Saturday 7th May.
Informative events will be hosted each day in schools and other locations along the route, with speakers ranging from celebrities to mental health professionals. There will also be an exhibition of local services at each venue, signposting people to where that critical help is available, if needed.
Jim Breen, Cycle Against Suicide founder said: “This is the fourth year of Cycle Against Suicide and we’re blown away with the phenomenal response from the communities involved in the Cycle. These communities are critical to helping us spread the message that “It’s OK not to feel OK; and it’s absolutely OK to ask for help”.
“Each year over the two weeks of our annual Main Cycle, we give presentations in schools, businesses and other locations all around the island of Ireland, and we witness how hugely responsive people are to that message. We also see the value placed by individuals on their own mental wellbeing, and that of their friends and families.”
There are many ways to become involved in breaking the cycle of suicide on the island of Ireland. Cycle for a leg, a day, a weekend or maybe even the entire 14 days; offer your support as a volunteer; register as a Homestay Provider and host a cyclist as they pass through your community.
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