For Stephen Lay, depression was foreign to him, until it came crashing down - hard.

Towards the end of last year, the 62-year-old was diagnosed with severe depression and had suicidal thoughts.

But it is the support of family, friends and even strangers who helped him through it, and now he wants to do the same for others.

Stop the Stigma Ride plans to raise much-needed funds and awareness for local suicide support group STAROS.


The event is a first for Hawke's Bay.

On Saturday, hundreds of motorbikes are set to travel 250km around the region in solidarity and support.

Lay says the name is poignant as 10 years ago, nobody wanted to talk about mental health issues.

Hawke's Bay Aotearoa Riders Against Teenage Suicide (RATS) chairman Frith Palmer is supporting the event.

She believes it is important for people to also understand the pain that families and friends feel when they lose a loved one.

"People are told just to harden up and everything is swept under the carpet. But the more people allow for their whānau to be able to talk about things, to be more open and loving and supportive, hopefully the better things can be."

It is a cause close to her heart, as she lost her foster son to suicide 20 years ago. "STAROS does the most amazing job and we hope to raise a lot of money for them."

For more information on the event, visit: OR STAROS, visit
Registration will take place on Saturday at Bev Ridges On York, York &, Durham Ave, Tamatea from 9am to 11am. Tickets are $10 per bike.

Where to get help:
If you are worried about your or someone else's mental health, the best place to get help is your GP or local mental health provider. However, if you or someone else is in danger or endangering others, call police immediately on 111.
• Lifeline: 0800 543 354 (available 24/7)
• Suicide Crisis Helpline: 0508 828 865 (0508 TAUTOKO) (available 24/7)
• Youth services: (06) 3555 906
• Youthline: 0800 376 633
• Kidsline: 0800 543 754 (available 24/7)
• Whatsup: 0800 942 8787 (1pm to 11pm)
• Depression helpline: 0800 111 757 (available 24/7)
• Rainbow Youth: (09) 376 4155
• CASPER Suicide Prevention
• Lifelink/Samaritans: 0800 726 666 (available 24/7)
If it is an emergency and you feel like you or someone else is at risk, call 111.