Auckland Detective Senior Sergeant Dave Glossop and Alison Blyth (pictured) are among a group of cyclists who rode from Bluff to Cape Reinga to raise awareness over mental health issues in NZ.
Ride Out of the Blue was a 22-day cycle mission over 28-days – and 2330km.
The journey was to highlight that 1.5 Kiwis commit suicide every day. That’s 529 lives lost in the year to June this year, according to data from the Chief Coroner.
Dave says police deal with the fallout from depression and suicide every day. He has personally witnessed too much depression and suicide in his job and this spurred him to take part in this event.
“My career has given me a heightened awareness of depression and suicide. I have witnessed the devastation of friends and relations left behind. I am particularly conscious of the suicide rate involving young people. I have wished so often I could have spoken to some of these kids before they made the choice they have. ..
“I understand the pain and the feeling that they would do anything to escape from the pain, but I wish I could explain that the pain of today will pass…”
He likens cycling to an analogy for life.
“For every up-hill there will be a down-hill. When facing a headwind it will be at your back before long. It’s easier to maintain balance if your moving forward and above all, just keep turning the peddles, keep going in the right direction and you will get to your destination,” he says.
Dave says suicide affects all ages and walks of life. He wants to help take some responsibility to protect our young. This is why he helped raise money for the mental health foundation Mindfulness in Schools. This programme gives people some tools to handle emotions from an early age, he says.
He says when Alison Blyth, who organised the first Ride out of the Blue, contacted him about the ride, “I jumped at the opportunity”. He was lucky enough to get support from his wife Nicky who has been “left carrying the can back home” and he’s thankful for work support too – and giving him leave from work.
Now, he’s just hoping he’s done enough cycle training to keep up with his crew. The group is staying at quite a few marae as they make their way up the country. On Saturday they had finished the first leg and the group stayed at the Te Whanau o Hokonui Marae in Gore. “The support is awesome,” says Dave.