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

Veteran Saanich councillor Vicki Sanders won’t seek re-election

‘Council is becoming more complicated,’ says Coun. Leif Wergeland

Local and international artists paint murals across Victoria

Sixteen murals are spread out across downtown Victoria as part of the ‘concrete canvas’ project

Oak Bay brothers scoop 10 kg of poop from park paths in 30 mins

Family picks up dog poo to give back, inspire others to be more responsible

Crash snarles traffic on Highway 17

Traffic southbound is seriously delayed and northbound down to one lane on… Continue reading

PHOTOS: B.C. city wakes up to darkness under wildfire smoke

The rest of the province also dealing with thick haze as smoky skies continue

Five things to do in Greater Victoria this weekend

Puppy yoga, horses, cars, water guns and more make up this weekend’s list of events to see

Longtime broadcaster joins race for Saanich council

Ian Jessop says he wants to bring support to Mayor Richard Atwell around council table

Authorities mull evacuation order for Zeballos

Smoke billowed from the steep hillsides of Zeballos on Friday evening, as… Continue reading

Fire chases B.C. crews out of their own camp

Crews in Burns Lake had to leave after a wildfire reportedly overtook their sleeping quarters

First long-awaited Cyclone lands near Victoria airport

Military helicopter first of nine to come to Saanich Peninsula base

To address peacock problem, B.C. city moves ahead on trapping plan

Surrey’s new bylaw focuses on ensuring people no longer feed the birds, ahead of relocation

Hospitals to see ‘delays’ in care after losing Saudi students, health group says

About 1,000 Saudi residents called back to kingdom after suspending diplomatic relations with Canada

Bernier diatribe against ‘extreme multiculturalism’ boosts Liberal coffers

Party spokesperson Braeden Caley says online donations doubled, social media engagement quadrupled

Most Read