To create awareness among the people regarding the Mental Health and Brain Injury problems (MHBI), Nepalese Australian Democratic Forum (NADF) hosted a bike ride on August 24, 2014 in the Sydney Olympic Park to Blaxland Riverside Park NSW.
The MHBI awareness program was organised in two different sessions: Bike ride and Interaction along with BBQ on the same day.
The first session started at 11:00AM and was formalised with the presence of chief guest Sophie Cotsis (Member of Legislative Council, Shadow Minister of Local Government, Housing and Status of Women) along with Harish Velji (Friend of Nepal representing Indian Community) and Aisha Amjad (member of Labour Party representing Pakistani Community).
This session started with bike riding from Sydney Olympic Park Railway Station and ended at Blaxland Riverside Park, Silverwater NSW.
Around 40 Bike riders comprising higher percentage of women in the age group 20 to 50 years enthusiastically took part in riding bikes for this genuine cause. The participants wearing T- Shirt of NADF started to ride bikes from Sydney Olympic park at around 11:30 AM. This bike path covers all together 12 KMs, however, the team chose a halting point at about 6-7 KMs and it took the riders 30-40 minutes to arrive at their destination.
The first session of the event was attended by nearly 90 people who included bike riders, general public, guests, friends and family of the bike riders etc.
The second session started when the bike riders reached Blaxland Riverside Park close to water view in the Blaxland Riverside park where all together about 150 people were gathered.
In this session, Health specialists and professional including Dr Ghana Shyam Chapagain (Specialist Mental health), Shashi Subba (Mental health Consultant) and Dr Babu Ram Bastakoti (General Practitioner) from Nepalese Community highlighted about the causes, effects and symptoms of mental health problems.
Giving details about the event, Dr Gyanendra Regmi , General Secretary of NADF said , “ As per the stats available , almost 20 percent of people suffer from mental illness and mental health issues all over the world. Due to the stressful life styles and growing desires, depression is a growing problem among the youth, there only among the older people the cases of dysmnesia are on rise. All these problems are related to mental health and need to be redressed properly. But people are hesitant in going to doctor for treatment related to mental health and this bike rally was an effort to bring awareness to the general public and the Nepalese community in special about the mental health issues”.
“The main aim of the bike ride was to promote the awareness about the Mental Health issues especially among the migrants. Migration in itself is one of the depressing part of one’s life and to get settled in a new place is not an easy process. In the process of settling down, a person undergoes many hardships which lead to a lot of mental health issues,” said Dr Gyanendra Regmi.
While addressing the morning session program, Chief Guest, Sophie Cotsis said, “ Our communities have the issues of mental health and brain injury and we need to be together to get rid of such issues”.
She also highlighted that Community support is significantly prime factor to reduce the rate of such issues in Australia and she encouraged NADF and Nepalese community to extend their supportive hands to the needy people .
Elizabeth Priestley, Director of Mental Health Association for NSW, who was a special guest of the program also alerted community to be aware about this illness and mentioned that MHA for NSW is ready at any time to support people who are in need.
Priestley also distributed different kinds of published material about mental health and visiting informative cards in the program.
Different community leaders from Nepalese Community ( Man KC, Spokesman NRNA, Ranju Thapa, Secretary, NRNA, Mahendra Oli, President, NRNA, Australia), delivered their speech in the program expressing the importance of such kind of programs in the community. The program was chaired by the president of NADF and run by Dr Gyanendra Regmi, General Secretary, and NADF.
Program Coordinator Janaki Paudel while speaking on the occasion highlighted that fact that about 93 Millions Children around the globe are suffering from mental illness as per one of the research reports in 2013. In Australia, a recent mental health snapshot shows that 1 in 5 Australians is suffering from mental illness and 1 in 45 Australians is suffering from brain injury.
“Due to lack of awareness many of us are hiding the illness, ignoring the situation and not seeking the treatment and support. Mental illness and brain Injury are treatable like other diseases. So, awareness is first essential step to avoid such kind of stressful situations”, said Janaki Paudel.
Many of the people present on the occasion realised the importance of this kind of programs and committed their continuous support for such awareness campaigns in future as well.
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