DURHAM, N.C. (WNCN) – A North Carolina Central University professor is loading up his motorcycle and taking a ride around the country for a cause near to his heart.
Thursday morning, he launched his effort as part of Minority Mental Health Awareness Month, which starts in two days on July 1.
Over the next 30 days, Dr. Robert Horne, an associate professor and counselor, will ride from NCCU’s campus in Durham to Maine, where he will start the USA Four Corners ride. He will then ride his 2004 fully-upgrade Honda motorcycle from Washington to the California coast then ending in Key West, Florida.
He tells CBS North Carolina’s Beairshelle Edmé that his 10,000 mile journey will raise awareness for mental health, especially among minorities.
“What matters to me is that if the people who are out there listening take a positive message from it and the people who may be sitting somewhere on the verge of deciding ‘I want to make a change’, I encourage them to step to make a change,” he explained. “To step out, come out of that darkness and say, ‘Hey, look, I have issues. I have a mental health disorder or I think I might have one.’”
The counselor is well aware that one in five American adults experience mental health issues, according to the National Association of Mental Illness (NAMI).
NAMI also estimates at least 43.8 million Americans deal with the illness annually.
But among minorities, health experts and researchers find mental health can be dismissed and untreated.
“When you’re working with people in under-served populations, a lot of times they don’t get the attention that they need because there are so many barriers that get in the way,” Dr. Horne detailed.
The former marine will gear up and try to lead the charge for wellness. His first stop on his trip will be at Quantico, where he hopes to further discuss mental health among soldiers and veterans.
As he likes to say, he’s off to paradise when he gets on his bike. This time, he hopes to give people across America some peace of mind.
During his trip, Dr. Horne is hoping to raise $30,000 for National Board for Certified Counselors Foundation and the Uganda Counsellors Association, as well as several other organizations.
To donate and follow his month-long journey, visit here.