Metal machines and mental health are not always two things that naturally go together, but an Alexandra man is using his personal experience of depression to encourage others to get help.

Mike Robertson, of Alexandra, is encouraging others to take mental health seriously.

Riding ‘‘The Flying Pumpkin’’, his OZ Trikes threewheeler motorcycle, he gets ‘‘out and about raising awareness of mental health’’, he said.

His message is simple — mental health is nothing to be ashamed of.

It is even printed on the side of his trike.

He is in his 60s and although he is aware there are programmes to help younger people, his focus is on helping others his age.

‘‘Nobody is paying attention to guys my age, and the stupid thing is the suicide rate for guys my age is more than it is for kids.’’

‘‘I’m good at making a noise, so I head out there and make a noise.’’

The impetus for his focus on mental health began after he lost his lower left leg about two years ago.

‘‘I got gangrene in my foot, because I’m a smoker.’’

‘‘When I lost my leg . . .I went to a really dark place,’’ Mr Robertson said.

He asked for help but he found it difficult to find out where to go for assistance so, once he recovered, he decided to help make ways to make contact more visible by printing helplines on the side of his bike.

Motoring with a message . . . Mike Robertson, of Alexandra, provides contact numbers and gives out information cards as he travels around on his trike. PHOTO: SIMON HENDERSON.

‘‘I go all over the place, I will just park up somewhere and people will see it and come up and talk to me.’’

He also gave out information on where to go for assistance, he said.


Where to get help in NZ

Healthline 0800 611-116 Lifeline

Aotearoa 0800 543-354

Suicide Crisis Helpline: 0508 828-865 (0508 TAUTOKO)

Samaritans 0800 726-666

Alcohol Drug Helpline 0800 787-797

General mental health inquiries: 0800 44-33-66

The Depression Helpline 0800 111-757