A group of dedicated mental health professionals arrived in Tasmania last week but while doctors often come and go, these ones are part of a unique group: one that is travelling on two wheels.
The annual Psychs on Bikes tour this year came to Tasmania for the first time.
Thirteen psychologists, psychiatrists and mental health support nurses, will this week travel the state with the goal of spreading mental health awareness to regional and regional communities.
The riders are from all across Australia and bring a wealth of knowledge in a state where mental health is an increasingly large issue.
The group understands that one factor that can affect people choosing to seek is money issues so they will also be providing free health checks that include, blood mass indication tests, blood pressure tests and respiratory function tests.
Their main focus is raising awareness of mental health issues and trying to combat some of the stigma associated with mental health which can be a big problem especially facing men in a rural area.
Their goals are to sit with community members and have simple, light chats, encouraging “speaking up.”
Psychs on Bikes president Joe Dunn spoke about the focus on men being important, with the focus on patience but perseverance “The idea is to engage men in these communities because they tend to under-use health services.”
“The suicide rate is four men to one women, so things need to change.”
Tony Barker, an outreach worker with Rural Alive and Well, spoke about how the tour also encourages men to find a healthy balance between relationships, lifestyle and work-life.
“It’s all about talking to a mate and making that initial conversation,” Mr Barker said.
Over the course of the week the Psychs on Bikes toured Smithton, Queenstown, Bothwell, Longford, Sheffield and other towns across the state.