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Motorcyclists ride into Lincoln, raising awareness for children’s mental health

Updated: May. 22, 2021 at 10:29 PM CDT
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LINCOLN, Neb. (KOLN) - Dozens of motorcyclists are using their bikes, making sure kids across Nebraska are being heard and seen, especially during May, which is Mental Health Awareness Month. On Saturday, the Pony Express Riders made their last stop in the Capital City.

The World Health Organization reports that half of all mental illness begins before someone turns 14 years old. That’s exactly why these riders said they saddled up and are hoping to shed a light and make a change.

“These Pony Express Riders are so dedicated and just great heroes and champions of this message,” said Sheri Dawson with the Division of Behavioral Health at DHHS.

That message is to advocate for little ones, keeping their mental health at the front of it all. “There are no words to describe what that feels like because we know that we are doing what is right,” said Holly Stevens, site coordinator for the Pony Express.

Over four days, dozens of riders hopped on their bikes. They started Wednesday in Scottsbluff, made their way through 14 towns across the state and ended at the capitol building. “We don’t care how far you can ride. We don’t care how long you can ride. If you ride, that’s what matters,” Stevens said.

On these rides, motorcyclists picked up letters from kids and their families, listened to challenges they’re facing and how they’d like to handle them.

“We need to hear that voice, and we need to use that voice as we continue to grow our system and grow those resources,” said Dawson.

The message remained the same even in the 14th year of the ride. “We need to not only on these days be a voice, but we need to be a voice every day,” Stevens said.

Other organizations, like the Department of Health and Human services stepped in and are keeping that same message going. “We have families that need our help and support. So, the more we talk and the more we normalize the conversation about mental health, the more people will actually seek help,” Dawson told 10/11.

The letters the Pony Express Riders collected from kids all across the state will soon make their way to Governor Pete Ricketts’ desk.

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