For the month of November on AVT we're supporting a mission driven cycling brand called Blackdog. The idea is pretty simple, for the rest of the month we're giving 10% of proceeds on some branded merchandise to Movember to support men's mental health programs.
You might be wondering what Blackdog is all about and where it came from so here's the scoop...
It started out a year or two ago.. I (Alex, owner of AVT) was struggling with some mental health issues of my own that go back many years. Like a lot of 40 something blokes, I kept it all inside and suffered mostly in silence.
The real trigger in wanting to do something to raise awareness of this was when one of my best mates back home in the UK hit some very serious mental health issues of his own. He got diagnosed bipolar, and went through some pretty serious shit as a result. During an extended summer trip back to the UK, it was a case of me putting my own (less serious) issues to one side and trying to help my buddy through a very tough period in his life.
Spending time together and talking was frequently done out on the bike or over a few beers, and that's where the idea behind Blackdog started. Out on a ride one day he said "why don't you make some stickers to put on your bike that says something about riding with the Blackdog"? The idea being it shows other cyclists you support the mission and are there to talk it out..
So why Blackdog? Pretty simple really, it's a common term used to refer to depression, Winston Churchill used to refer to his visits from the Blackdog.
What happened next showed the need for this.. as I talked to more of my friends about it, more and more of them expressed their own struggles. All of a sudden, just within a group of 5 or 6 mates, the scale of how many men this affects became apparent.
Blackdog was borne out of this, almost 2 years ago.. but what started out with a lot of energy and great intentions stalled pretty fast and didn't go anywhere. The irony is that it was down to my own struggles re-appearing. The Net result after trying a bunch of different therapies was my own diagnosis with Biopolar 2, admittedly no where near as serious as my mates Bipolar 1 but still debilitating in its own way.
Finally getting the diagnosis meant a change in treatment, and for the first time a drug based option. I can't express what a difference that made and the productivity increase has been quite astounding (more on that to follow in a future post). Which lead to the momentum to re-start the Blackdog project and do some good with it.
So, help us support Movember by buying some socks, or a trucker hat (coming soon) and stay tuned for more apparel and merch. Growing a 'stache for Movember might not be everyones cup of tea, so get some socks instead!
Thanks for taking the time to read about why AVT is supporting Blackdog.
AVT Owner, Co-Founder Blackdog (along with Angus, Jamie, Neil and Roann all back in the UK).