Gov. Ricketts joins bike ride to raise awareness for pediatric mental health

by Tom O'Connor, UNMC public relations | July 21, 2017

Image with caption: Gov. Pete Ricketts, who has participated in bike rides for worthy causes in the past, will join in the Break the Cycle ride with area health professionals and community leaders.

Gov. Pete Ricketts, who has participated in bike rides for worthy causes in the past, will join in the Break the Cycle ride with area health professionals and community leaders.

Nebraska Gov. Pete Ricketts will join several area health professionals and community leaders in participating in Break the Cycle, a bike ride designed to raise awareness of the challenges faced by children with mental illnesses.

Fundraising goal

Proceeds from Break the Cycle will be used by the AACAP to:

  • fund innovative research initiatives;
  • increase the number of child and adolescent psychiatrists; and
  • help ensure that children suffering in silence get the treatment they need.

Dr. Kratochvil said $25,000 is the targeted fundraising goal for the Omaha event. More than $10,000 already has been raised through corporate sponsors. The public can donate by going to Nebraska 150 for Break the Cycle.

The Omaha ride on July 29-30 will serve as the kickoff event for the nationwide Break the Cycle ride, which begins in Seattle on Aug. 17 and concludes in Washington, D.C., on Oct. 23 at the annual meeting of the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry (AACAP). Break the Cycle was initiated through the AACAP.

"We appreciate the governor joining the cause," said UNMC's Chris Kratochvil, M.D., a child psychiatrist, who is coordinating the ride in Omaha. "Hard as we try to dispel it, there is still a stigma in the U.S. when it comes to people receiving mental health care.

"It can be especially devastating for families when children struggle with their mental health. We hope this ride will help break down the misperceptions people have and allow them to better understand how important it is to seek treatment for mental health conditions. It can make a tremendous difference."

With this being Nebraska's 150th anniversary as a state, Dr. Kratochvil said the Nebraska participants are planning to ride a total of 150 miles over the course of two days. The ride will take place on the bike trails that run throughout Omaha.

Several local organizations are supporting Break the Cycle, Dr. Kratochvil said. These include UNMC/Nebraska Medicine, the Hawks Foundation, Creighton University, CHI Health, the Kim Foundation, Project Harmony and the Behavioral Health Education Center of Nebraska. The Nebraska Regional Council of the AACAP also is supporting the event.

Dr. Kratochvil, who is associate vice chancellor for clinical research at UNMC and vice president for research for Nebraska Medicine, plans to ride all 150 miles along with his wife, Jillyn, who is a pediatrician for Children's Physicians and on the faculty of Creighton University Medical Center.

"Rather than open the event broadly, we have decided to focus on the commitment of community organizations," Dr. Kratochvil said. "In addition to the governor, participants in the day will include health care leaders, mental health professionals and other community leaders."

Participants can choose to ride both days, one day, or even part of one day, he said. Gov. Ricketts plans to ride on the morning of July 29 and will take a break to participate in a 9 a.m. news conference at UNMC.

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