Pony Express Ride to raise awareness for children’s mental health

LINCOLN, Neb. — Volunteer motorcyclists are saddling up to ride across Nebraska from May 19 through May 22 for the 14th annual Pony Express Ride, an effort to raise awareness about children’s mental health. The ride will finish at the Nebraska State Capitol at 1:30 pm on Saturday, May 22.

The ride focuses on the message that mental health is fundamental to overall health – a message shared by the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services.

The bikers will kick off their ride in Scottsbluff on Wednesday, May 19. During the ride, they will reenact the mail-delivery service of the storied Pony Express by picking up letters about children’s mental health written by youth, their families and other supporters, which will be delivered to state employees at the State Capitol.

“For the past 14 years, these dedicated motorcyclists have been a key partner in raising awareness for children’s mental health,” said Sheri Dawson, director of the Division of Behavioral Health. “Half of all lifetime mental illness begins at the average age of 14 and three-quarters by age 24. For a young person with symptoms of a behavioral health disorder, the earlier treatment is started, the more effective it can be. We need to continue to normalize conversations about mental health and ensure youth and families have access to prevention and treatment services.”

After beginning their journey in Scottsbluff riders will make stops in Kimball, Sidney, Ogallala, North Platte, Gothenburg and Kearney on the 20th. The following day, riders will go through Grand Island, York, Columbus, Norfolk and Fremont.

On the final day, the riders will kick off the NAMI Nebraska Walk in Papillion before wrapping up the tour on the steps of the Nebraska State Capitol, where the letters will be delivered.