Hundreds pedal to highlight importance of mental health

Age no bar: Cyclists, young and old, participate in the ride on Sunday.

Age no bar: Cyclists, young and old, participate in the ride on Sunday.   | Photo Credit: special arrangement

Cyclists take pledge to increase conversation on wellness

More than 2,000 people gathered early on Sunday to cycle in support of mental health awareness, as part of the fifth edition of Ride to Mpower, the annual community cycle ride.

A 27-km ride was flagged off from NSCI in Worli by Mpower founder and chairperson Neerja Birla; Minister of Environment, Tourism and Protocol Aaditya Thackeray, Municipal Commissioner Praveen Pardeshi, and cricketer, entrepreneur and head, Aditya Birla Sports, Aryaman Birla.

A 15-km ride was flagged off by Mayank Bathwal, chief executive officer at Aditya Birla Health Insurance, and Kausar Munir, Bollywood lyricist and screenwriter. The cyclists also received words of encouragement from Commissioner of Police Sanjay Barve.

The streets from Worli to Bandra Kurla Complex were filled with enthusiastic Mumbaikars pledging to increase conversation about mental health and make the city taboo-free.

Participants were from all walks of life, including social and mental health activists, corporate executives, cycling ambassadors, fitness enthusiasts and college students, an MPower spokesperson said.

Stamping out stigma

A fitness aficionado, Ms. Birla aims to bring together all fitness champs to pledge their support towards mental health. “At Mpower, we always strive to bring about a change in perception and attitude towards mental health in India. We are delighted with the overwhelming support we have received over the past four years, with Mumbaikars coming out to stamp out stigma around mental health,” she said.

Ms. Birla said with this year’s Ride to Mpower, they hoped to bring in more cycling and fitness communities together.

“We want to encourage more and more people to join the movement and create dialogue about mental health with the same zeal, openness and seriousness as we do for physical health. After all, a healthy mind and healthy body both contribute towards an individual’s holistic well-being,” she said.

Mr. Thackeray, who is also the MLA from Worli, said he was happy to be present for such an important cause. “Ms. Birla’s Mpower is doing a fantastic job in alleviating stigma associated with this topic, and cycling is a great way to bring the city together. We started a cycling track at Marine Drive to promote the activity, and Ms. Birla’s enthusiasm and thought behind Ride to Mpower has inspired me to create more initiatives for fitness,” the minister said.

One in six people in India suffers from a serious mental disorder, and yet mental health remains a taboo in most Indian households, institutions and workplaces, a statement from Mpower said. “The uncaring attitude, the ignorant labels, the tone-deaf conversations, the endless stigma and the lack of mental healthcare need to change,” it said.

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Printable version | May 29, 2020 6:09:57 AM |

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