GMHBA member set to ride from Perth to Warrnambool for mental health awareness

Supporting the community is an important part of GMHBA’s ethos. Which is why we are proud to support GMHBA member Adrian as he rides from Perth to Warrnambool to help raise funds for LET’S TALK.


LET’S TALK is a community driven initiative that arose in response to the rising death toll by suicide in Victoria’s Southwest region.

LET’S TALK aims to reduce the stigma of mental illness, increase help-seeking behaviour and raise the level of community competence in supporting someone with mental health issues.

People with lived experience of mental illness and mental health professionals help to deliver this message through workshops in schools, clubs, businesses, volunteer and community groups. Attendees are also given a resource pack to take home.

Mark Powell, one of the key people behind LET’S TALK said the program has facilitated several presentations now, which have been delivered to over 10,000 people with the aim to break down the stigma.

“People with lived experience have come forward to tell their stories both in the local media and at LET’S TALK presentations,” Mark said.

“This has led to many more who have spoken out to get help for themselves or assist friends to get help.”

Adrian’s Perth to Warrnambool ride

We’re proudly sponsoring GMHBA member Adrian Benson, who will be taking on a charity endurance bike ride from Perth to Warrnambool in March to help raise funds for LET’S TALK. Great Health had a chat to Adrian about the upcoming challenge!

Why are passionate about mental health and what made you want to be involved in supporting LET’S TALK?

Having been a physiotherapist for 19 years I’ve worked with a range of different patients who have experienced major trauma. From this I’ve seen how mental health can influence and impact how people recover from injury and adjust to change in function. In the clinic and in rehab we see so many people who are dealing with chronic diseases, chronic pain, degenerative diseases and mental health problems on a daily basis.

I would love to see a change in the community’s attitude to mental health. The LET’S TALK initiative is doing great work in our region, raising awareness and helping all people to develop skills and confidence to discuss mental health in the same way you would talk openly about your sprained ankle.

What are you doing to prepare for the ride?

In 2017 I walked the Kokoda track with LET’S TALK. After we returned there was enthusiasm among the group to look for another challenge to grab attention and provide LET’S TALK with a vehicle to continue spreading the message. 

I’d never ridden a road bike, but one of the other trekkers offered to loan me his. I started riding to work, then learnt to ride in a group and built up the kilometres. I completed my first ride over 50km in Lorne and was sore for a week afterwards, but consistency is paying off and I can manage longer rides now. The only change I’ve made to the bike was a new seat; I like the idea of riding this borrowed bike from Perth to Warrnambool to prove you don’t need all the fancy gear and technology!

How are you going to manage the long ride and hot conditions?

We couldn’t contemplate riding the 3280km distance in 14 days any other way than as a team. We have 10 cyclists and we’ll rely on each other and our support crews. We’ll need to work as a team and are excited about testing ourselves and seeing what we can do together. 

We’re prepared for no shade across the Nullarbor and will be sleeping in school gyms and church halls where we can, so it will be tough.

LET’S TALK will be holding community events in all the towns we stay at to help spread awareness. Hopefully local cycling groups and clubs will offer to help lead us in and out. We know it will be a pretty amazing feeling to arrive back in Warrnambool as a team for a street party celebration!

Funds raised by Adrian and his team from the ride will be used to create a resource booklet to support LET’S TALK. The booklet will capture the stories of individuals with a lived experience and incorporate evidence-based interventions and advice for people experiencing their own mental health struggles, including tips on how their loved ones can best support them. 

For more information and the latest updates from LET’S TALK, follow their Facebook page.

Want to talk mental health?