Bike 4 the Brain

Anyone who’s had a close encounter with brain illness, whether in themselves or in a loved one, is familiar with negative reactions from others. Bike 4 the Brain, an event held for the last eight years in the Kansas City area, is an effort to reduce the stigma of such illnesses, increase awareness, and raise funds for local providers of mental health services.

Ken Sonnenschein, a Kansas City psychologist (whom Bern and I interviewed for our first book together, “Let Me Sow Light: Living With a Depressed Spouse), is the founder of the event.

“They (mental illnesses) are silent illnesses that can’t be seen with an X-ray or blood test,” Sonnenschein said in Monday’s Kansas City Star. “They are illnesses that are not openly discussed.” One of Bike 4 the Brain’s goals is to overcome the stigma that leads to that silence.

The Star article went on to quote another participant in Bike 4 the Brain, Matthew Bernstein. Bernstein stated that he is a consumer of mental health services. “People think everyone with a mental illness is in the hospital,” he said. “I’m taking classes at the KU Edwards campus. I’m volunteering. I’m just living my life.”

Kudos to the Star for reporting on the event, and for showing a face of brain illness that many people never see – the everyday person on the street, living his life just like anyone else, while at the same time struggling with an illness just as so many others do.

-Amy

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