Many years ago, Scott ‘Nutterz’ Perry was in a dark place. Everything about life seemed hopeless. He was haunted by the black dog.

“I had lost my job and my home on the very same day, and if that wasn’t enough, that same day evening, my girlfriend left me,” he remembers.

Luckily for Mr Perry, his good friend’s partner sat him down that night and, concerned that he was so out-of-character, asked if there was anything troubling him.

“Just that simple question and it all came pouring out and I could reach out for help”, he says. “Otherwise God knows what could’ve happened.”

That is why today this Bradbury resident goes out of his way to help others in whatever manner  he can.

On Sunday, March 17, along with family and friends, Mr Perry will be making his inaugural Black Dog Ride to raise awareness about depression and suicide prevention.

The one day motorcycle ride will leave from Leumeah station carpark and take participants on a journey through to Picton for lunch, fundraising raffles and most importantly – connection and conversations.

“More than 3,000 lives are lost to suicide in Australia every year, and one in five Aussies will be affected by mental illness every year, with three million living with depression or anxiety,” Mr Perry said.

“The tragic loss of loved ones to suicide is what drives Black Dog Ride to build a community culture of awareness, inclusion and acceptance, and we’d love for more people from the local community to get behind that in 2024.”

Mr Perry said joining the Black Dog Ride’s One Dayer was an enjoyable and meaningful way to help the organisation achieve its mission of bringing out into the open conversations about mental health and suicide prevention that could prove life-saving.

There were 6,000 participants across the nation in the 2023 One Dayer, but organisers want to encourage more community members to get involved and make 2024 even bigger.

Black Dog Ride Australia General Manager Lawson Dixon said fostering awareness was the catalyst for encouraging help seeking behaviour and preventing suicide.

“We’ve been helping Aussies have conversations about mental health and suicide prevention for almost 14 years and we know that every conversation, every activity, every ride and every piece of awareness we help create has the potential to change lives for the better,” Mr Dixon said.

Mr Perry is also keen to stomp out the notion that though he and his mates may look “big bad bikies” with their tattoos, jackets, patches and burly build, “that was a thing of the past, before I met my wife Annie.”

Today Mr Perry presides over Maori Side, a “social family group” hell bent on contributing to the community with Hospital Toy Rides, Blanket Rides, youth mentoring, and now the Black Dog Ride.

Funds raised will help contribute to the Black Dog Ride Australia Community Grants program, which is focused on supporting initiatives that help people who suffer from mental illness, help prevent suicide, and raise awareness of both mental health and suicide prevention.

Locals are encouraged to register for the local One Dayer before the registration cost increases on February 1, by visiting: https://events.humanitix.com/campbelltown-nsw-black-dog-ride-1-dayer-2024 .