A group of 24 students from Bruce Hall rode over 500 kilometres last week to raise awareness of mental health issues as part of the “Protect Your Head” campaign.

Tour de Bruce started in Dubbo on the 17th of September, and took the students through Orange and Boorowa before they rode back into Canberra on the 19th. The riders hope to raise $10,000 for the National Institute of Mental Health Research, and are almost at their target having already raised over $8,000.

Jamon Shay, President of the Bruce Hall Residents’ Committee, said that he was proud of the riding group for achieving what they did. .

“Everyone was pushed beyond their limits on both physical and mental level. The first day proved the hardest, as the riders were forced to deal with the pressure of riding along one of rural Australia’s busiest highways as well as the fatigue of a full day of riding.”

Students also participated in an earlier Bruce Hall-led event, Tour de Burley Griffin, on September 5th, which saw 50 people take part in a ride-athon around Lake Burley Griffin and complete a combined 1,501 laps of the Lake.

At least one third of young people will experience a mental illness before they turn 25, making mental health one of the most serious issues for adolescents. Shay stated that the pervasiveness of this issue in the lives of students at university was their reason for wanting to raise awareness about mental health.

“A lot of people at Bruce Hall have either personally struggled or known someone who has struggled with depression,” Shay said.

‘More common forms of mental health issues, such as stress and anxiety, affect us all throughout the year and so the aim of the campaign wasn’t just to raise money, but to spread knowledge about mental health issues and how to recognise and manage your own personal mental health.’

The “Protect Your Head” campaign is designed to raise awareness about mental health at ANU and the wider Canberra Community, and coincides with the ANU Day of Giving on October 7, in the middle of Mental Health Awareness Week.

The ANU Day of Giving will launch the ANU’s campaign in support of the National Institute of Mental Health Research and the reduction of stigma around mental illness. The Day of Giving will ask students not only to donate money as the ANU attempts to raise $50,000 in 24 hours, but also to donate their voices on social media to create a thunderclap across both Facebook and Twitter.

Those wanting to know more about the “Protect Your Head” campaign, or wanting to donate can do so at https://give.everydayhero.com/au/protect-your-head.