Mental Health Motorbike (MHM) is a network of MHFA accredited mental health first aiders who are all motorbikers. The ultimate aim of MHM is to reduce suicide amongst bikers in the UK by providing 1 to 1 and peer support, events, training activities and projects, working in partnership with other organisations and clubs. The MHM is building a free, dedicated network of trained Mental Health First Aiders who can support other bikers across the UK.
We use our shared love of motorcycling as an enabler to get people talking about their mental health, if they wish to. Members of Mental Health Motorbike have the discrete MHM sticker on their motorbikes and it enables and provokes conversation.
You tend to find that when you first talk to people about MHM they are a little hesitant and then before you know it, when you’ve told them a bit about the society and what it’s all about, 45 minutes have passed.
To them we’re just folks on motorbikes who’ll happily have a chat, but in reality, it’s given them the chance to offload to you and they feel a lot better. Sadly, there is still a lot of reticence by people to seek help and support, particularly by men, so the MHM provides people a great opportunity to get support in a setting (and with an interest) that is familiar to them.
If people aren’t comfortable with talking to us in person, we have a range of avenues for people to reach out to us. Various ‘private’ social media pages, telephone, Whatsapp etc. so they can offload and share whatever they have going on in their life. You realise that people do have a lot going on in their lives. Mental Health Motorbike provides a forum for people, under the banner of a common hobby, to say ‘Can I talk about this? Can I talk about that?’ and to realise that yes, its ok to want to talk things through.
The great thing about Mental Health Motorbike is it’s readily accessible and it’s available for people who are not yet at a full mental health crisis stage. In the UK there’s a greater availability of support networks available for people at crisis stage (such as Samaritans or the NHS) but for those people who are pre-crisis or in the earlier stages of a depression then support is very limited. It’s also the case that people may simply not have someone who they can reach out to. MHM provides that immediate listening ear to give instant support irrespective of their personal circumstances. It’s a great leveler.