Oak Bay optometrist Neil Paterson hopes to hit 100 riders on this Shaggy and the Rat Traps team in the Ride Don’t Hide cycling event June 24 in Oak Bay. (Christine van Reeuwyk/Oak Bay News)

Oak Bay optometrist challenges community to target 100 for Ride Don’t Hide

Annual event to raise funds, awareness for Canadian Mental Health Association June 24 in Windsor Park

When Neil Paterson pedals his third Ride Don’t Hide he plans to pull at least 99 Rat Traps with him.

The Oak Bay optometrist is an avid cyclist and supporter of the Canadian Mental Health Association event that raises funds and awareness.

Paterson has participated and been a top fundraiser for Ride Don’t Hide, tells the story of his own struggles and this year challenges the community join his team “Shaggy and The Rat Traps” where he hopes to have 100 riders in celebration of CMHA’s 100th birthday.

“Who doesn’t wanna be a rattrap once in their life,” he says with a laugh. “[CMHA] started to serve First World War veterans with what would be PTSD today and it’s never stopped. That’s an amazing accomplishment for any non-profit to hang in there for 100 years.”

He had his first “episode” in about 1992 and “two or three good whacks since then.”

“I was in my last big depression and a friend was helping me. He said ‘you should get involved in this’ and it’s been great. It’s been something positive to put negative energy towards,” Paterson says. “They run all these wonderful programs for people with mental health issues. I’m bipolar myself and when you have mental illness it’s just a part of who you are. You live with it, but when I’m mentally strong, I love to give back and try and help out.”

Paterson finds when he’s open about his struggles with mental wellness, particularly one-on-one working with the public as an optometrist, they open up.

“They go ‘ah’ and relax. It’s just a great leveller when people know one in five of us suffers depression in life,” Paterson says. “You get up and you put your pants on in the morning and you keep going if you can, and no judgments if you can’t.”

Events such as the Ride Don’t Hide help dispel lingering stigma, through both funding and awareness.

“This year we are hoping to have 500 0riders out, last year we had 350,” says Jocelyn de Montmorency, program manager for CMHA BC Division’s Victoria office. “We have a new venue this year, at Windsor Park in Oak Bay.”

The event has expanded as well: for the serious a 100 km ride as well as a 50 km, 28 km, 7 km for kids and family and a 5 km walk.

“We need to talk about our mental health. We need to share stories with one another, we need to stop hiding,” says de Montmorency

Ride Don’t Hide is June 24 starting at Windsor Park in Oak Bay. Register at ridedonthide.com.

Just Posted

Ravens Crossing co-housing group secures Sidney site

Closer community ties are the goal

Beach Boys’ Brian Wilson set to hit Rock the Shores stage

Other acts include Bahamas, Allen Stone and Bedouin Soundclash

Woodwynn Farms sold to B.C. government

Therapeutic-recovery community is the goal, but no on-site housing planned

Peninsula Streams needs volunteers

Program addresses the scourge of plastics in the ocean

France doubles up Croatia 4-2 to win World Cup

Played in Moscow Russia, latest Fifa World Cup marks the highest scoring final since 1966

REPLAY: B.C.’s best video this week

In case you missed it, here’s a look at replay-worthy highlights from across the province this week

5 things to do this weekend around Victoria

The sounds of summer Rock the Shores returns to the lower fields… Continue reading

Former NHL goalie Ray Emery drowns in Lake Ontario

Police say the 35-year-old’s death appears to be a ‘case of misadventure’

Air quality statement warns of smoky air for Kamloops area

Environment ministry says area on north side of Thompson River may be affected by wildfire smoke

Pussy Riot claims on-field protest at World Cup final

Russian protest group claimed responsibility after four people ran onto field in police uniforms

Fans party on Montreal streets after French World Cup win

To city is home to nearly 57,000 French nationals

LOCAL FLAVOUR: South Island expecting a bumper berry crop

It’s berry time in Saanich. My raspberries are getting plump and ripe… Continue reading

B.C. VIEWS: Making private health care illegal again

Adrian Dix battles to maintain Cuba-style medical monopoly

Almost every part of Canada’s largest national park deteriorating: federal study

Drawing on decades of research — the report lists 50 pages of citations

Most Read