Teenage years were hard for many of us, but for one Edmonton teen, they’ve been so harsh that he’s ended up in the hospital several times. Due to many bouts of bullying, the 15 year old has struggled with anxiety, depression and other mental health problems. He didn’t think that there were many he could turn to, but one group of bikers showed up to the hospital to let him know that he wasn’t alone.
Steve Enns is the president of the group known as Bullying Enns, an organization that has gathered together to help put a stop to bullying youngsters, and offering individual support when needed. This was one of those cases where one young man in particular needed help. While the teen was at home after staying at the Royal Alexandra Hospital for mental health treatment, the bikers surprised him by showing up with nearly 50 people, taking him for the ride of a lifetime.
According to Enns, he had spoken with the teen on the phone before they showed up en masse to support him, saying that “We just had a little chat and told him we’re there for him and keep up the good fight. We’ve made it very clear that we’re a call away and there’s lots of people that care.” Hospitals had told Heather Gillis that her teenage son’s mental illness couldn’t prompt a long stay in the hospital, so it was important to have a large group of people coming to show care for her son.
Seeing that many bikers show up to the home to talk with her son left Gillis in tears, grateful for support from a group that you might not expect. She’s now hoping that the story of Bullying Enns helping her son provides more awareness for mental health issues. “I will advocate until I’m blue in the face because there is such a need,” Gillis said. “If this happens to my son and my family’s going through this, I can’t imagine what’s happening to those families who don’t have a voice to stand like I do and say, ‘This is not okay, we need more help.’”
In Edmonton, nearly twice as many people die via suicide each year than in car accidents, and the alarming statistic has the city creating more awareness. More than $1 million has been put into place to help promote public awareness of mental health issues, as well as expanded training and support groups that can help people like Gillis’s son, and Bullying Enns has helped to increase more awareness and funding, as well.