A close-knit community of mountain bikers are helping those in the community who are struggling with mental illness by offering free psychological services.

Funds raised by the Mountain Biker's Ball and Rotorua Singlespeed Society meant a programme had been set up to offer practical help.

Gary Sullivan, Rotorua Singlespeed Society president, said the programme was open to everyone in the community.

"The idea around the donations to the free session programmes was that it underwrites practical, hands-on help to those who most need it, but without the financial resources to pay," he said.


About $14,000 was available to fund the programme which was initially managed by the Mountain Biker's Ball committee but had been taken over by the QE Health Wellness and Spa.

Sullivan said people could self-refer or could be referred by a GP.

Philly Angus from the Mountain Biker's Ball committee said mental health was an issue close to the mountain biking community.

"As a community, we felt that we could make a difference in the lives of those who're feeling isolated, alone and vulnerable.

"In turn, making Rotorua a happier and healthier place to live. We chose to do this in the wake of losing a member of our riding community, a friend, a brother, a son, Mark Dunlop."

To get involved:
Contact the QE Health Wellness and Spa for information on the free sessions.

Where to get help:
• Lifeline: 0800 543 354 (available 24/7)
• Suicide Crisis Helpline: 0508 828 865 (0508 TAUTOKO) (available 24/7)
• 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)
• If it is an emergency and you feel like you or someone else is at risk, call 111.