A Gunnedah man is on a mission to bring local men together to combat mental health issues.
Wayne Watts is forming the Gunnedah Social Riders to encourage local blokes to get out of town on a ride one Sunday a month so they can chat and relax. The first ride is on February 24.
"Depression seems to be a bit of a problem in our community at the moment," Mr Watts said.
"A lot of our peers are suffering badly because of the long hours. They’re doing it pretty hard.
"The people in your social circles are .. the big boofy blokes who are too tough to talk to anyone about it. It’s so hard to get them to admit something’s wrong.
"We need to do something."
Mr Watts spends his life on the road and said he knows how hard it is to take time off.
"Being a truck driver, I see a lot of it out here," he said.
"We all seem to be working longer and harder than we have in our lives. Personally, I do more than 70 hours a week.
"Because of that pressure, people don’t have time to relax like they used to."
I just want people to find the pathway to good help and get people back to where they were.Wayne Watts
The truckie has also battled depression himself and sights a good support network as vital for those experiencing dark days.
"It’s only through the grace of some good friends that I’m still here," he said.
"I just want people to find the pathway to good help and get people back to where they were.
"We could use [the group] as a platform to raise awareness of depression and suicide and try to help."
The first ride is set for February 24, with plans to meet at the Imperial Hotel at 10am before heading to Barraba where the group will stop off for lunch.
For more information on the ride, visit Gunnedah Social Riders on Facebook or phone Wayne Watts on 0428 425 474.