COLORADO SPRINGS — An Albuquerque man is biking across America to raise awareness for mental health and suicide stopped in Colorado Springs.
Richard Lima is riding his bike for more than 4,200 miles for the National Alliance On Mental Illness (NAMI). He recently lost a loved one to suicide and wanted to help others dealing with mental health struggles.
"You don't expect a phone call like that, you don't expect to get news from a family member that your loved one has taken their life," said Lima.
Earlier this month, he departed from Charlotte, North Carolina to make his way through small-town America, stopping in major cities such as St. Louis, Kansas City, and Denver.
"Parts of it has been tough because of the heat, a lot of climbing, the bike weighs 75 pounds so it's really heavy. I've got water, a sleeping bag, a sleeping pad, a tent, a cooking stove, and clothes in front. My journey will never be as hard or a struggle like what a person with mental illness is going through," said Lima.
During his travels, Lima is holding events with NAMI to help educate communities on mental health and resources.
"Around 98% of the people I've met have a tie to mental illness, suicide, attempted suicide, or know someone who's lost their life to suicide. It has really opened my eyes," said Lima. "Coming across the country, there is more mental illness out there than I could ever imagine. When you travel across the country on a bicycle, it opens up conversations with people. When I tell them I am riding for mental health and suicide, people become comfortable with me, they spill their guts to say 'I've dealt with suicide, mental illness, lost someone to suicide.' I think it's been a learning experience for me that people are hurting."
Lima hopes his journey can help people struggling with their mental health — and encourage them to get help.
"I want people to know that it is okay to reach out, it is okay to ask for help, it is okay to say that I am not feeling right and I need help. Don't be embarrassed, there is nothing to be embarrassed about. The best thing that you can do is ask for help because once you receive the help and overcome this — it gives you the opportunity and ability to help other people," said Lima.
All proceeds from his trip go to NAMI to help people with their mental health. Also, whoever donates $250 to his partner Never Ride Alone will be entered to win the bike at the end of the ride.
For people interested in following his journey, visit his Instagram page.