Spotlight on mental illness

Ride Don’t Hide: Michael Schratter is working to eliminate stigma.

Changing attitudes: Ride Don’t Hide ambassador Michael Schratter gives a talk on mental health Monday to students at the Jackson Campus of Salmon Arm Secondary. This was followed up with a speech to Okanagan College students.

Changing attitudes: Ride Don’t Hide ambassador Michael Schratter gives a talk on mental health Monday to students at the Jackson Campus of Salmon Arm Secondary. This was followed up with a speech to Okanagan College students.

For Michael Schratter, silence is the enemy.

In 1995, Schratter was diagnosed with hypomania, a form of bipolar disorder. He had an illness, and yet was told to hide his pain and struggle for fear of what others might think.

“If you have a broken arm in a cast, people know there’s pain and they have empathy and offer help. With mental illness, you are to be ashamed and silent because if you share, you could be in a worse position than if you kept your mouth shut,” said the effusive former Vernon resident to a crowd of students at Okanagan College and Salmon Arm Secondary on Monday.

His experience with his illness, sparked the idea for the Ride Don’t Hide campaign, which, 15 years after his diagnosis, saw Schratter ride 40,000 kilometres around the world to raise awareness about the stigma surrounding conditions like depression, anxiety disorders and schizophrenia. He also raised roughly $67,000 for the Canadian Mental Health Association.

Statistics show that one in five Canadians will suffer from mental health issues at some point in their lives.

Schratter has also created a website www.ridedonthide.com, where people can share their stories about mental illness or show their support for those suffering.

While he notes the response has offered many a chance to share in a safe, supportive place, others have posted stories, only to later request they be pulled off the site.

Youth are particularly at risk, with the suicide being the second largest killer of Canadian young people.

“The first is car accidents and think of all the safety measures we use to combat that. When it comes to mental illness, we’ve got a long way to go.”

As a result of his ride, the Canadian Mental Health Association will be following up with Ride Don’t Hide cycling events in communities across Canada. An event is being planned for Salmon Arm on June 23.

Just Posted

The Great Ogopogo Bathtub Race has been held in Summerland as a fundraising event. Do you know which Canadian city introduced this sport? (Black Press file photo)
QUIZ: A summer’s day at the water

How much do you know about boats, lakes and water?

A promotional image for The Wharf Sessions album. (Salmon Arm Arts Centre image)
The Wharf Sessions album pays tribute to Salmon Arm’s long-running concert series

Salmon Arm Arts Centre wanted to give recording opportunity to artists in a tough year

(Heather Lueck image)
Crash north of Enderby knocks out power, slows Highway 97A traffic

A witness captured footage of a medical helicopter landing at the scene

An overhead view of the proposed location of 5 new units at Sicamous Creek Mobile Home Park. (District of Sicamous image)
5 new rental units proposed at Sicamous Creek Mobile Home Park

Coun. Gord Bushell said he thinks it will be great to have five new rentals in the community

At an outdoor drive-in convocation ceremony, Mount Royal University bestows an honorary Doctor of Laws on Blackfoot Elder and residential school survivor Clarence Wolfleg in Calgary on Tuesday, June 8, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
‘You didn’t get the best of me’: Residential school survivor gets honorary doctorate

Clarence Wolfleg receives honorary doctorate from Mount Royal University, the highest honour the school gives out

Indigenous Services Minister Marc Miller is seen during a news conference, Wednesday May 19, 2021 in Ottawa. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Indigenous child-welfare battle heads to court despite calls for Ottawa to drop cases

Feds are poised to argue against two Canadian Human Rights Tribunal rulings

Two-year-old Ivy McLeod laughs while playing with Lucky the puppy outside their Chilliwack home on Thursday, June 10, 2021. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
VIDEO: B.C. family finds ‘perfect’ puppy with limb difference for 2-year-old Ivy

Ivy has special bond with Lucky the puppy who was also born with limb difference

A million-dollar ticket was sold to an individual in Vernon from the Lotto Max draw Friday, June 11, 2021. (Photo courtesy of BCLC)
Lottery ticket worth $1 million sold in Vernon

One lucky individual holds one of 20 tickets worth $1 million from Friday’s Lotto Max draw

“65 years, I’ve carried the stories in my mind and live it every day,” says Jack Kruger. (Athena Bonneau)
‘Maybe this time they will listen’: Survivor shares stories from B.C. residential school

Jack Kruger, living in Syilx territory, wasn’t surprised by news of 215 children’s remains found on the grounds of the former Kamloops Indian Residential School

A logging truck carries its load down the Elaho Valley near in Squamish, B.C. in this file photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chuck Stoody
Squamish Nation calls for old-growth logging moratorium in its territory

The nation says 44% of old-growth forests in its 6,900-square kilometre territory are protected while the rest remain at risk

Flowers and cards are left at a makeshift memorial at a monument outside the former Kamloops Indian Residential School to honour the 215 children whose remains are believed to have been discovered buried near the city in Kamloops, B.C., on Monday, May 31, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
‘Pick a Sunday:’ Indigenous leaders ask Catholics to stay home, push for apology

Indigenous leaders are calling on Catholics to stand in solidarity with residential school survivors by not attending church services

Most Read