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Prime Minister gets on his bike for Black Dog

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By Alexandra Mayhew

What’s the number one killer of our young people?

A while back, I guessed motor accidents.

I was shocked and upset to find out what it really was. Not because I was wrong, but because the answer was truly devastating.

For Australians aged 15 to 24 the truth is, the leading cause of death is suicide. And the rates are increasing.

This has been brought to the forefront of my life recently for a couple of reasons.

Firstly, a friend’s brother took his life earlier this year.

Secondly, we started working with the Black Dog Institute. Black Dog Institute is a world-leader in the diagnosis, treatment and prevention of depression, bipolar disorder and suicide.

That’s why in the wee hours of this morning, John Wells and his trusted companion Millie - not a black dog but a brown Border Collie (image right) – headed off to Taronga Zoo. Prime Minster Tony Abbott had donned his lycra, jumped on his bike and was headed west for the Black Dog Institute’s Zoo2Zoo ride. The aim of the event is to raise funds for a depression treatment facility.

While the Prime Minister won’t make the whole 400km to Dubbo's Western Plains Zoo, his efforts to raise awareness and funds are much appreciated, by me, by people working in mental health, and by the many thousands of people who are touched by suicide every year.

If you need help: http://www.blackdoginstitute.org.au/public/gettinghelp/overview.cfm

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