Subscribe for 99¢

Crider Health Center will host its second annual Cruisin’ 4 Crider event from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. May 17 at its Wentzville facility, according to a press release. The address is 1032 Crosswinds Court.

Crider Health Center, a non-profit, 501(c)3 organization headquartered in Wentzville, has been serving the health needs of the underserved community since 1979. Primarily known for its behavioral health services, Crider Health Center serves St. Charles, Warren, Lincoln and Franklin counties.

Cruisin’ 4 Crider is an event that will unite bikers from around the St. Louis metropolitan area in a campaign to raise awareness and educate the community about mental illness and stop stigma in its tracks.

The cost is $25 for an individual rider and $30 for a rider plus passenger. Each participant will take part in a scenic awareness ride through St. Charles and Warren counties and receive access to the VIP tent, where free food and beverage will be provided, and a free Cruisin’ 4 Crider bandana.

Last year, Crider Health Center reached out to the biking community for the first time to ask them to support this cause by taking a stand against stigma.

“Like bikers, children and adults with mental illness face the stigma of societal labels every day,” Pam Matter, community engagement manager, said. “It is important to understand that mental illness, much like heart disease or diabetes, is a disease and it is treatable. Just as we would never be afraid of someone who told us they had a heart attack, we should not automatically fear someone who says they have bi-polar or depression. We need to understand that their disease does not define them.”

Crider is extending the invitation to the non-biking community as well.

“We would love to see the non-biking community come out to show support for those who are riding for this wonderful cause,” Matter said. “This is a family friendly event and there will be lots of exciting things to do.”

The lineup of activities also includes a children’s play area with inflatables, Yo Salsa and Vincent Van Doughnut food trucks, and live music from One More Round (a cover band).

To register, visit www.cridercenter.org, or call Pam Matter, 636-332-8327 or Shaun Roland at 636-332-2134.

In response to a 2006 survey that concluded a person with mental illness lives, on average, 25 years less than a person without mental illness, Crider expanded its mission and began offering an array of services that enables its consumers to live fuller, more productive and healthier lives. Some of the services offered include adult primary healthcare, pediatrics, behavioral healthcare, dental services, counseling, school-based mental health services, prevention programming and community supports.

While Crider Health Center does accept some private insurance, the majority of consumers treated at their facilities are either uninsured, underinsured, receiving Medicare or Medicaid benefits, or living at or below poverty. In order to provide such a wide array of programs, Crider relies on grant funding and the generosity of corporate and private donors. However, with the ever expanding need for quality, affordable healthcare, it is never enough to fully meet the needs within the communities. Therefore, funds raised through special events go a long way in ensuring Crider can continue to serve those in the community who need it most.

Adopting a “wraparound” approach, where services are wrapped around the individual or family, Crider Health Center has been instrumental in helping those with mental illness learn how to live with their illness — not suffer from it. However, barriers still exist for those who openly seek mental health treatment.

“While mental illness has been thrust into the media due to high-profile cases, there is still a lack of understanding and fear associated with it,” Matter said. “This fear leads society to place labels on those with mental illness creating a stigma that is difficult to eradicate. With one in four U.S. adults suffering from a diagnosable mental disorder in a given year, there is a growing need for mental health education.”