Cyclists come together to raise awareness on mental health

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- While it was Labor Day, it was hardly work for the nearly 400 cyclists who pedaled to raise awareness for mental health Monday.

The annual Bike for the Brain helped raise money and awareness about mental health.

According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, one and five adults experience mental illness in a given year. That is more than 43 million Americans, including many here in Kansas City.

The non-profit gives the money raised to seven organizations that help with mental illness. 

The idea came from a doctor who noticed there was no events for the cause.

"I asked about ‘When is the mental health ride?’ since I'm passionate about mental health and recovery,” said founder, Dr. Ken Sonnenschein. “When I did a google search 14 years ago, there was no mental health event," 

On Monday, 370 riders spent their holiday riding around the Kansas City metro area.

"Mental health holds a special place in my heart,” said Dr. Bradley Dyer, who participated in the event. “I'm a big, big believer in the benefits of what exercise can do for mental health." 

Hannah Michelson knows all too well that sigma of mental illness.

"I actually have mental health challenges myself. I've had depression and anxiety. I remember first going to the therapist when I was about three," said Michelson.

Two recent shootings nationally have involved someone with a mental illness.

"The people who are most at risk are the people themselves. That is the people that need mental health care," said Sonnenschein.

Michelson agrees that Kansas City Police are doing the right thing by being trained to help mental health issues.

"People like police officers should go through that type of training. It just provides them with tools, be that verbal tools. Other types of ideas on how to work with someone who's in a really challenging situation," said Michelson.

Riders at the event said they will continue to ride to help those in need. The event raised $30,000.
 

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