On Friday, September 16, Beacon Health Options (Beacon) employees, friends and family, will embark on the Awesome Beacon Bike Ride, a 2,000-mile cycling journey from Boston to Miami. Throughout the 30-day trip, riders will serve as “spokes” men and women to raise awareness about the stigma surrounding mental illness.
Beacon is also sponsoring the ride to raise funds for the Mental Health America (MHA) and National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), both of which are nationally recognized for their advocacy and services for individuals with mental illness and their families.
Anyone can participate. For more information about the Awesome Beacon Bike Ride or how to register to ride in one or more of the one-day rides, please visit the bike ride’s web page. There, you can also view a video to learn more about the ride. Beacon offices in Colorado Springs, Colo., Cypress, Calif., and the United Kingdom will also host one-day bike rides.
“This ride has three goals: camaraderie, advocacy and health,” said Beacon Associate Chief Medical Officer Emma Stanton, MD, and the ride’s lead organizer. “These principles unite all of us who work at Beacon. We care about raising awareness of mental illness, and this is just one more way that we can show it.”
“We are proud to support the important work of NAMI and MHA. They have championed the rights and needs of individuals with mental illness for nearly 150 years, combined,” said Beacon President and Chief Executive Officer Tim Murphy. “We have so many Beacon employees who have embraced the Awesome Beacon Bike Ride, many of whom will be out on the road as cyclists and volunteers to help our members and others who are on their own roads to recovery.”
The funds raised from the bike ride will help support MHA’s “B4Stage4” initiative, which promotes prevention of, and early intervention for, mental illness. This program spreads the important message that when we think about cancer, heart disease, or diabetes, we don’t wait years to treat them, nor should we for mental illness.
“Mental Health America is honored to be one of the nonprofits supported by the Awesome Beacon Bike Ride,” said Paul Gionfriddo, president and CEO of Mental Health America. “This ride will bring together Beacon employees, family members and friends from across the world to spread awareness and demonstrate that it is okay to speak out about mental health. The more we talk about mental health, the sooner we can reach individuals early on in the disease process — before Stage 4.”
NAMI will use the donation for its education and support programs for individuals and families affected by mental illness, as well as initiatives to build public awareness of mental health conditions and end the stigma that surrounds them. NAMI’s programs are offered at no cost to participants so everyone affected by these conditions and their loved ones have the knowledge and support needed to facilitate recovery and resilience.
“NAMI is grateful to all the “spokes” men and women who are cycling to raise awareness about mental illness,” said Mary Giliberti, CEO of the National Alliance on Mental Illness. “One in five Americans live with a mental health condition so it is critical that we work together to change the way the world sees mental illness and learn to see the person, not the illness.”
To follow the journey during the month-long ride through, pictures, stories and videos, visit www.beaconhealthoptions/bikeride or check out the #BeaconBikeRide on our social media accounts, www.facebook.com/beaconhealthoptions and www.twitter.com/beaconhealthopt.
The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) is the nation’s largest grassroots mental health organization dedicated to building better lives for millions of Americans affected by mental illness. NAMI advocates for access to services, treatment, support and research, and is steadfast in its commitment to raising awareness and building a community of hope.
Mental Health America (MHA) – founded in 1909 – is the nation’s leading community-based nonprofit dedicated to helping Americans achieve wellness by living mentally healthier lives. MHA’s work is driven by its commitment to promote mental health as a critical part of overall wellness, including prevention for all, early identification and intervention for those at risk, integrated health, behavioral health and other services for those who need them, and recovery as a goal.