Fargo motorcycle ride benefits mental health research and suicide prevention

FARGO, N.D. (KVRR) – Suicide is the tenth leading cause of death in the U.S. but it is preventable.

The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention of North Dakota Chapter teamed up with fellow bikers in the city to host the Fargo Ride to Fight Suicide.

The 100-mile ride supports the Foundation’s education and research programs, along with organization’s goal to reduce the annual rate of suicide 20 percent by 2025 nationwide.

“When you come and do events like this and we raise awareness and talk to other people about things you create a camaraderie the biggest thing to help reduce the stigma of someone who would die by suicide is talk to them,” said Catrina Gullickson.

In the state of North Dakota, suicide is the 9th leading cause of death among people and affects everyone according to the AFSP foundation.

“It is so important that our communities come out and support these kind of events there’s power in community which makes change when we get our communities together so when we support our communities coming to these events we are saying its ok we need to talk about mental health and we know we can have those strong conversions,” said Samantha Christopherson.

“Everyone is struggling. It’s not hard reach out anybody is willing to help phone is always open,” said Nick Sanders.

Gullickson shared her personal connection to suicide and why people should take mental health serious.

“There are a couple reason why i do it first of all i do have a son in law who is a vet that has also at times struggled with mental health my daughter who is with him has struggled with mental health and I did lost a daughter to suicide who did struggled with mental health. She hid it very well sometimes you can see it on the outside,” Gullickson said.

“When I say reach out I’m really not kidding it can be 2 a.m. call I’ll go cause I’ve been there. It’s the hardest thing to have to deal with.”

Veterans like Nicholas Sanders understand how hard it can be to ask for help and want people to know it is ok to seek help.

“Honest to God, reach out. It’s the hardest thing for anyone to do and if it wasn’t for everyone here and many more people I would not be standing here today. Twenty-two vets a day are struggling and are losing their live to suicide because we get trained to something and then we get brought back into civilian life and we don’t know how to react.”

“Please reach out communicate talk to somebody tell someone you love them give them a hug and know that we are all here together to support one another,” said Gullickson.

Help is available. The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (1-800-273-8255) is available 24/7. It is free and confidential.