Suicide awareness campaign to get a hand up through Mackay charity ride

River 2 Reef Third Charity Announcement Large

More men will be able to seek help to improve their mental wellbeing and lead a more fulfilling life, with a community men’s suicide awareness program being announced as the third beneficiary of the Hand Heart Pocket the Charity of Freemasons Queensland River 2 Reef Charity Ride.

The Suicide Prevention Community Action Planning Group’s Men’s Campaign based at ‘selectability’ joins RACQ CQ Rescue Helicopter Service and Mackay and District Sporting Wheelies as beneficiaries of the ride which has raised more than $450,000 in the past nine years.

Earlier this year, Hand Heart Pocket signed on as the Naming Rights Sponsor of the Mackay-based event for the next three years. The sponsorship agreement will see the Freemason charity contribute $25,000 each year towards the event from 2019-2021. In addition, they will match the first $50,000 raised through the event, dollar-for-dollar, each year during the sponsorship period. This means the more participants, the more funds that will be raised, and the ability for the event to support this third charity.

‘selectability’ CEO Debra Burden thanked the local Freemasons for championing the need for additional support in the area of suicide awareness within the community.

“Since 2017, we have been supporting this region to develop and implement a Suicide Prevention Community Action Plan. Funding from the Hand Heart Pocket River 2 Reef Charity Ride will help to extend our reach so more people can access and benefit from our Suicide Prevention program within the Mackay, Whitsunday and Isaac region.”

Mackay District Freemason David Sykes said the impact of this ‘hand up’ will be felt in the community.

“The Suicide Prevention Community Action Planning Group is doing incredibly important work to increase awareness about male suicide in the region, so we are pleased that the charity of Freemasons Queensland, Hand Heart Pocket, are able to provide them with this extra support,” David said.

Hand Heart Pocket Chief Executive Officer Gary Mark agreed, pointing out that one of their priorities is to improve men’s mental and physical health.

“Our work is based around alleviating suffering and empowering people to lead better lives,” Gary said.

“The statistics on men’s mental health, in general, are deeply concerning – six out of every eight suicide victims in Australia are men, nearly three times the number who die in road accidents.,” he said.

Ride organiser Evan Corry said Hand Heart Pocket’s generous sponsorship built on the ride’s strong local support and enabled assistance to extend to a third charity.

“We encourage everyone to get involved in the ride – it’s a great event – and we are looking forward to seeing the community come out in force this year in support of three really important local charities.”

The 2019 Hand Heart Pocket the Charity of Freemasons Queensland River 2 Reef Ride will be held on Saturday 14 September 2019. To register for the ride, visit:

Photo: The Mackay District Freemasons, River 2 Reef Charity Ride organisers, selectability, RACQ CQ Rescue, Mackay and District Sporting Wheelies and other notable guests were among those to join Hand Heart Pocket the Charity of Freemasons Queensland for the special announcement. 

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