A MAN who attempted to take his own life one year ago is on a mission to encourage people to talk – with the help of his Harley Davidson.
Biker Chris Evans attempted to end his life in November 2022 after struggling with undiagnosed dyslexia and depression.
Chris, 47, has now made it his quest to help fight the stigma of mental health problems and plans to ride around North Wales, handing out mental health leaflets at popular bike haunts, whilst encouraging people to talk.
Chris, a Denbighshire councillor for Tremeirchion, mental health first aider, former weightlifter, and dad of four children and two stepchildren, said he hoped the bike would be an icebreaker.
“It is a big Harley Davidson, a big black thing, a Harley Davidson Sport Glide,” he said.
“I’m 47 now, but I’ve been a biker since I was 16 or 17. You feel freedom.
“You don’t have to be going like a rocket. You are out in the fresh air. You are meeting people and part of a group.
“There is camaraderie. You pass a biker, you nod, and you wave. When you are on it, your mind feels free. Riding the motorcycle clears your head.
“When I go to these bike meets, I will use that motorcycle as a starting point for a conversation on well-being.
“I’ll ask people, how is your mental health? I’m going to make something that’ll have leaflets on it.
“I’ve got some literature coming from mental health charities, and I’m speaking to Mind Cymru to get some leaflets.
“I want to highlight what the bike is, get some stickers on it, especially about men’s health because it’s a bike that stands out in the crowd, and there is not many of them around.”
Chris said getting out and doing something is vital to improve mental health but said many people still struggled to understand.
“You have to go out and do something. I was having a bad day on Sunday, and I had to force myself to go up the mountain above Llandyrnog,” he said.
“That’s where I feel contentment. I have a connection with the ground and mother nature.
“I like having my hands in the soil. I like gardening. I went up there for two hours, and it goes away.
“You have to realise what you’ve got. I’ve got mental health problems, but it doesn’t define me, and it doesn’t stop me doing anything. You have to drive on.”
He added: “Some days I can’t work anything out. I can’t talk. I lie on the sofa.
“My partner has been amazing with everything that’s gone on. We have to realise that mental health is so prevalent in everything we do. I think, as a society, we need to be more empathetic.
“I’ve seen an advert on telly that says if you’ve had a cough for a long time to go to the doctor.
“But there’s not one there that says if you’ve not seen your friend for the last three months, is there an issue? There is a stigma around mental health, and there shouldn’t be. I want to encourage people to sit down, have a paned, and talk.”