“The Ride for Mental Health” Gears Up to Pass $1 Million In Donations for Mclean Hospital

January 26, 2022

Cyclists Return to New York's Hudson Valley June 25-26 to Raise Funds and

NEW YORK CITY and BOSTON (Jan. 26, 2022) /ENDURANCE SPORTSWIRE/ –  The Ride for Mental Health, a weekend of cycling and camaraderie in the picturesque Hudson Valley just 90 minutes north of Manhattan, is on pace to surpass the $1 million mark in total donations when it returns to New Paltz, N.Y., June 25-26.

By raising money for mental health education, research and treatment, The Ride offers hope to the 1 in 5 Americans who will experience mental illness in their lifetimes. For riders like Eric Mehlenbeck of Brooklyn, however, The Ride is much more than a fundraiser. It is an opportunity to find inspiration, purpose and meaning amid the emotions and memory of personal tragedy.

“My brother suffered from depression, but no one was aware of his condition until we lost him to suicide,” said Mehlenbeck, who has participated in The Ride since it was founded six years ago. “I ride for him, and it is wonderful that his life can be remembered and associated with such a positive and uplifting event, knowing that it brings help to those who are suffering from mental health issues.”

Launched in 2017, the goal of The Ride has been to “Ride Away the Stigma” that surrounds mental health while raising funds and awareness. To date, it has generated more than $800,000 for McLean Hospital, the largest psychiatric affiliate of Harvard Medical School. A global leader in the study and treatment of psychiatric illness, McLean is consistently ranked as the #1 freestanding psychiatric hospital in the U.S.

Mehlenbeck will once again be among the hundreds of cyclists, volunteers, sponsors, and friends in what has become an eagerly anticipated annual gathering. Riders enjoy scenic routes of 14, 25, 50 and 100 miles winding through beautiful rural landscapes and natural settings, along with a dinner and party on Saturday evening.

The Ride for Mental Health was created by New York City attorney and Brooklyn resident Mac Dorris, inspired by the life and untimely passing of his son, Eric, who struggled with mental disorders. An avid cyclist, Dorris founded The Ride to honor his son’s memory by helping to fund McLean’s world-class mental health initiatives, which now include the Eric Dorris Memorial Research Fellowship, a post-doctoral training program supporting early-stage investigation.

“We’re hoping to have up to 600 riders this summer, so I encourage anyone who wants to support this movement to join us,” said Dorris. “Hearing the different stories and the reasons people from all walks of life want to be a part of our community is what makes The Ride so rewarding.”

Since its inception, participation in The Ride has grown steadily, emerging as one of the nation’s premier fundraising weekends focused on mental health. Anyone can support the cause, whether by participating as a rider – either in person or virtually – as a volunteer, or simply by making a donation. Registration rates are currently discounted through March 31, returning to full price after April 1. The event is focused on the safety of all participants and will follow local health protocols.

“As we navigate the ongoing effects of the pandemic, the conversation around mental health has never been more important,” said McLean Hospital President and Psychiatrist in Chief Scott L. Rauch, MD. “We’re seeing public figures, such as professional athletes and other celebrities, advocating for mental wellness. As the demand for services is growing, we’re especially grateful for the funding generated by The Ride, that helps support our many groundbreaking programs designed to address these needs”

Corporate groups, community organizations, teams and individuals can participate in The Ride and create their own fundraising pages. Sponsorship opportunities are available, and volunteers are needed. Details are available at www.rideformentalhealth.org, by emailing info@rideformentalhealth.org and by following The Ride on Instagram, Facebook and Strava.

About The Ride

The Ride for Mental Health was founded by New York City attorney Mac Dorris, inspired by his son, Eric. A bright and funny boy, Eric struggled with mental health issues as a young man. He was eventually diagnosed with borderline personality disorder among other conditions, and tragically died of an accidental overdose at the age of 21. Mac, an avid cyclist, created The Ride to honor his son’s life, and to shine a light of hope and caring for others. Eric’s memory lives on in the important work being funded by The Ride for Mental Health, and in the moments of connection and camaraderie that make the event so rewarding.

Support for McLean Hospital

Funds from The Ride for Mental Health fuel a range of programs across McLean Hospital’s multi-campus network. These initiatives include expanding access to clinical care for young people, scholarships providing financial assistance for patients and their families, development of a state-of-the-art academic and residential center for child and adolescent programs, public education and community training, and McLean’s nationally recognized research and innovation. McLean maintains the largest neuroscience and psychiatric research program of any private psychiatric hospital in the U.S., exemplified by the Eric Dorris Memorial Research Fellowship. Since its inception, the fellowship has been awarded to four outstanding post-doctoral scientists, with a fifth fellow to be chosen in spring 2022. With the help of funding from The Ride for Mental Health, McLean Hospital continues to improve the lives of people and families affected by psychiatric disorders by advancing our understanding of mental illness, leading to earlier and more effective interventions.


Charles Upchurch