For those who didn’t see, last week we launched Rigs & Rolls – Cars & Coffee for 4X4’s. A chance for us drivers of lifted and loved off-road vehicles to congregate, show off our rigs, have a bite and chew the fat (sorry – bad dad joke). A place where those of us who don’t have the resources or time to get away on longer trips can still express ourselves and live the enthusiasm.
But why? Yes, you can find a “cars & coffee” type meet most weekends for classics or other types of cars. The difference between a classic car and a 4WD is that a 4WD can get you places a classic can’t – what’s the point of going somewhere to park up?
In the introductory blog a couple of weeks ago I alluded to the challenge I personally have in getting away and enjoying my enthusiasm for all things motoring. Giving myself the time to do what I love becomes a 2nd or 3rd priority when life gets a hold. Underneath the cloak of not having time to wheel or go camping, sits an overarching need that I’m sure affects many of us. The need for time to switch off and relax, the need to recharge, the need to talk about problems or life and just feel part of something.
Rig & Rolls provides guys and gals in the 4WD community with an opportunity to do all of that, without a massive impost on “normal” life. By nature, communities help people feel a part of something bigger than just themselves or their day to day issues or challenges. Communities support each other and their members through difficult times. Often by very simple acts such as just being there to lending a supportive ear, providing a chance to have a laugh and enjoy a common purpose.
Mental health is a significant issue in a society which is typified increasingly by separation and isolation. How many times do you pick up the phone and look at a social page rather than call a mate or family to arrange a catchup? Guys and equally gals are affected by this affliction. Men’s mental health in particular is an area that is very close to my heart – let’s face it, us blokes are shocking at talking about our problems. The global statistics for suicide amongst men is tragic – it leaves behind broken families and loved ones with many unanswered questions.
In Australia, we are experiencing a particularly difficult time at the moment, especially in regional Australia where the effects of the long-standing drought have only been accentuated by the recent fires. Aiden’s article last week describing some of the challenges he has seen over the last month as an Army Reservist attests to this. Thankfully, Australian’s have never been more giving – with millions being donated to various relief funds for both drought and the after-effects of bushfires. For me, the words that strengthened my resolve to provide support around mental health were Aiden’s own reflections from the front line around people “not getting past this”. The thought of the challenges that multi-generational farming families face right now really got to me.
With this in mind, we have decided that for our inaugural Rigs & Rolls event, all proceeds from entry, raffles and refreshments will go to the Rural Adversity Mental Health Program (RAMHP). The program has been around since 2007 and is run by the Centre for Rural and Remote Mental Health (CRRMH), in partnership with each of the rural NSW Local Health Districts. RAMHP has a team of Coordinators living and working across rural and remote NSW who educate, encourage and connect people to mental health support. 1 in 5 rural-based Australians experience a mental health problem each year, but unlike their city based counterparts, access to professional help isn’t as readily available. RAMHP provide education and support to regional sporting clubs, associations and working groups to allow communities to better support each other.
A recent development off the back of statistics that showed that men are 3 times more likely to die by suicide is www.yougotthismate.com.au. This excellent online information source is a space for men to learn about mental ill-health and equip them to take control of their situation using practical tips and evidence-based information.
By supporting RAMHP we hope to support regional Australians during a time when they need it the most.
We are a 4WD community – a very sizable one at that. So if you have time, come down to the event and be a part of it. Help yourself, help a mate, make some new ones and ultimately help our rural counterparts to help themselves.
I really hope to see you there.
Happy, Healthy Touring