The Ride Don’t Hide movement began on August 1, 2010, as Michael Schratter, a Vancouver teacher and newspaper columnist, embarked on a global journey to cycle 40,000 km, crossing six continents and 33 countries and raising funds for the Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA). Michael’s mission was to circumnavigate the world, sharing stories with people in different countries, and in doing so to bring attention and awareness to the stigma surrounding mental illness. People were invited to share their stories and make a promise to help end mental illness stigma on his website, where Michael shared photos, stories and reflections from the road.
The 2010-11 Ride Don’t Hide campaign reached millions of people and raised $100,000 for CMHA’s child and youth mental health programs. As a dedicated ambassador of mental health promotion, Michael continues to speak to schools and the public about mental illness to eliminate the stigma associated with it.
The first community bike ride
In 2009, Chris Reynolds of Central Vancouver Cycling Club and Mel Thompson of The Ride for Mental Health inspired CMHA Vancouver-Burnaby to host the first CMHA Community Bike Ride in BC to raise funds to support programs for people with mental illness.
A BC-wide event
In 2012, the CMHA Community Bike Ride partnered with Ride Don’t Hide. The combined event was a partnership between CMHA Vancouver-Burnaby, North & West Vancouver branches, and BC Division. The Lower Mainland Ride Don’t Hide Community Bike Ride raised $75,000 and engaged 500 participants. In 100 Mile House, CMHA South Cariboo branch held its first Community Bike Ride, engaged over 60 participants and raised over $10,000 for mental health programs and services.
In 2013, Shoppers Drug Mart became the proud title sponsor as the Shoppers Drug Mart Ride Don’t Hide entered a new era with 13 BC local community bike rides and one in York Region, Ontario. Our goal was to engage over 2,500 participants and raise $400,000 to strengthen and support mental health programs and services for women and their families. 2,124 people joined the movement of mental health for all and $518,214 was raised.
In 2014, Ride Don’t Hide started the journey of crossing the country. Hosted in 4 provinces with over 3,600 participants riding in 20 communities, CMHA raised $750,000 to support mental health for all.
In 2017, the annual event had grown to become a national flagship program for CMHA across Canada, with 7,450 participants in 30 communities across 6 provinces. The 2017 Ride Don’t Hide events raised over $1.6 Million for mental health programs across Canada.