'Send It Society' Non Profit Aims for Mental Health Awareness in the Pacific Northwest

Sep 20, 2019
by Joshua Fulmer  

RIDING
WITH
MATT ARNOLD
Matt Arnold digging out "Shakira" on Duthie Hill's Gravy Train with the Evergreen MTBA.


Words by Joshua Fulmer, Send It Society

I've tried to write this thing about 20 times now, I usually stop around here.

Send It Society's first display booth at Whistler Crankworx 2019.

Long Story Short

My riding partner and brother Matthew Arnold killed himself at the start of this year. I needed to give myself a reason to keep riding. I love it too much. But I was, and still am some days, too scared to do it "alone." Like anyone who loses someone they love, I fight daily against "what if" thoughts: "What if we just went on one more ride last season?" "Why didn't I notice?" "He was my brother. What was wrong with me?"

After I exited the armed service in 2014, it was Matt who helped save my sanity, and gave me the courage to keep me going on by getting us out riding. I founded the Send It Society to offer that same gift to others who struggle with mental health.

Matt Arnold at Stevens Pass, September 2017.

About Matt

This article is about my non-profit, and the memory of a man in whose honor it was founded. Matthew Arnold would give anyone the time of day. As I've grown older, I've learned how much he gave with that. He was always happy to be with friends and make new ones, he was that dude that would be chatting trailside with you and somehow you end up grabbing beers later the same day. He was that dude that hit you up on Pinkbike for a trade deal and had you laughing while he haggled the price down.

Matt hated drops. The dude could clear Gravy Train (up to the last thrower) at Duthie Hill Bike Park, but he wouldn't hit the first drop on Voodoo half the time. We talked about things like mental blocks while riding and how that could translate to real life. We even spitballed the idea of a non-profit for riders to get together and just improve their quality of life.

Boy, do I still get mad at him though, I find myself looking away from this article to watch mountain biking movies, and Red Bull replays on the TV, just to keep my thoughts from going there. I know we hold no right to be angry with these people and the choices they make, but that doesn't help all the time.

Views: 954    Faves: 4    Comments: 2


About the Send it Society

Send It Society is a Non-profit with the mission of providing a non-clinical healing environment to raise awareness, bring education, and action to mental health through mountain biking and extreme sports.

What does that mean? It means we want people to go outside and be remember to find their happiness.

How do we approach this? We talk, we communicate, we move forward together, doing our best to show our friends, family, and strangers we can try to understand their lives, their struggle, and love them for who they are.

How do we accomplish this? Well, for now, I use the resources and tools I have to get people onto quality mountain bikes* and see what it feels like to let go of life and enjoy the dirt for what it is. For instance; we do a weekly ride with one guided trail run on a beginner course, then group laps divided by skill level, accompanied by conversations on mental health. We hope to break down stigma's about voicing your "problems", as well as guiding people to the proper resources they may not be aware they have access to.

What resources do we have? Current Bikes : Transition TR-250 // Transition Double // Banshee Scythe // Spank Tweet, Shuttle vehicles, and protective gear.

What are our future plans? Planned for the beginning of 2020 season, monthly weekend gravity trips, where we will take a group of riders to a resort for the weekend for some true gravity park fun.We're also working on a presence at more and more festivals, we went hard and sent it making Crankworx our first event, so we've got to keep the line rolling fast. Also, we're developing a race team to help bring more riders into the community around riding and racing.

How can I help? Spread the word, come ride, talk about mental health. Don't be afraid to trust your friends with your "problems." We all have them. If you are able to donate, we are still in our initial fundraising period with the goal to allow for me to focus on this full time and grow it into what it has the potential to be. Networking? If you know anyone in the industry that might be able to help us, please share our contacts info. Same goes on the mental health front. We are looking for like minded therapists, counselors and psychologists who we can recommend and work with for our participants.


One awesome Max Slater (Whistler Guides) saying hi!

Rough Start at Whistler

Crankworx (our first big show) was a solo run by me for the entirety of the festival and I had a point in time where it had been three days and I was on four hours of sleep over those; my mind and body had both had enough.

On my trip North to Crankworx I had a bit of a breakdown. It it was a little embarrassing to not have my booth up for two days of the festival. But, not only were the participants totally understanding on the following days, the Whistler staff was gracious and caring. Plus side? I got to run some laps!

Me riding Whistler laps with legendary Nick Zaback of CushCore fame.

For more information please feel free to contact: josh@senditsociety.org or come see us at one of our upcoming events!.
Website: http://www.senditsociety.org
Email: josh@senditsociety.org
Cell: ‪(509) 731-4732‬

Regions in Article
Everett


47 Comments

  • 47 1
 I hope you do well. This is a topic that needs to be talked about more, and mountain biking is a field where it can be easy over looked. Thank you for stepping up and starting the conversation.
  • 14 0
 Thank you for the kind words! I believe we already are moving in the right direction, these weekly rides are getting a lot of riders out that "Don't ride bikes, but rode of lot of bmx as a kid". The open conversations around mental health when it is shown to be a trusting and open environment has been incredible as well. It can get overlooked but it's also an incredible translation for overcoming obstacles in mental health while literally doing it on the trails.
  • 27 0
 Thank you so much to all of you for taking the time to read this. Thank you to RC for coming learning about Send It Society at Crankworx! And thank you to the PB staff for helping get this readable, it was something that has been really hard for me to write. Have an amazing start to your weekend and get out there and Send It! Any PNW riders we will be out at Duthie Hill on Saturday.
  • 15 0
 Mountain biking is part of the solution.
  • 8 0
 100%
  • 9 0
 Incredibly moving piece and outstanding work you are doing for the community. Mental health is something that goes overlooked all too often, and unfortunately, there is a stigma associated with mental illness that needs to be broken. Mental illness is something that effects so many people in so many ways. Mountain biking is absolutely part of the solution. Whether a means to "check out" from personal problems, convert negative energy into positive energy, or simply spend quality time conversing and getting stoked with a friend, old or new. You have my support 400%.
  • 3 0
 Thank you so much for the kind words 3. There is a huge stigma within our culture and I think some breakthroughs can absolutely come from riding. I love the way you describe it as part of the solution; those are great ways that biking really helps. Thank you
  • 8 0
 Let's expand this to the mental health of the people who are making this possible. Let's see how the industry is treating their employees wheres our beautiful machine of freedom are made. Maybe us a consumer could change as well the world for a better place making sure that our(your) beloved trek/canyon/SC etc are treating their people right.....
  • 1 0
 Although I thoroughly agree, I don't have a lot of knowledge on that. I'd love to get some info.
  • 7 0
 Thank you Josh for starting this conversation and for all you do for mental health awareness. I have found nothing but stoke in the mountain bike community which feels more like a family every time I am on the trail. We all look out for each other when riding so much more then we do in life.
  • 2 0
 Thank you so much! It's so true in many sub-cultures, lets work on it in riding!
  • 7 0
 Josh, got a chance to ride with you at whistler (until you forked off to understanbly shred A-line Smile ) was really great chatting with you and hearing about the send it society. Keep on doing what you're doing man! Hope to see you around whistler in the future!
  • 2 0
 Thanks so much! And that's dope we got to ride a bit! Remind me what you were on or your name? We'll be up once a month next bike season Big Grin
  • 7 0
 Truly awesome Josh. Well done on getting the non-profit up and running. That is no small feat. I will be rooting for you and I' certain a ton of the PB community will as well.
  • 6 0
 Thank you so much!
  • 8 0
 Support this 1000% Mountain biking is a crucial part of my mental health maintenance. Well done, Josh!
  • 2 0
 Thank you!
  • 8 0
 I bet you’ll find many who started because they were not feeling quite right
  • 3 0
 That’s what got me into riding at 14....19 years ago....
  • 5 0
 Glad to see this Josh. So glad my brother Jeff (your barber) told me I needed to meet you at Crankworx. So worth it. Even after a few minutes of chatting I was “in.” I don’t have much, but a willing heart. How can I help beyond spreading the word and funding? Please look me up brother. I believe in your mission, grieve with your loss and truly feel mountain bike is a pure avenue to health physically mentally and spiritually. Thanks for being so willing and daring to make this a reality.
  • 2 0
 DUDE! Pleasure to get to meet you and your family. I will figure out more avenues of support, but the words and conversation we had is so much in itself. Thank you again. Much love and I hope to get to see Jeff soon Big Grin
  • 5 0
 This is such a great cause! When I was younger I couldn’t figure out why people got so mad about suicide - then one of my best fir nds little brothers took his life when he was 16 years old. It’s been 18 years and seeing the pain left from his absence has changed my perspective on suicide.

Good luck and keep up the great work
  • 2 0
 I relate to that more than I can describe. I hope your healing continues. Cheers and thank you.
  • 5 0
 This is rad! Lost too many friends over the last couple of years. A good sketchy DH helps quiet the brain chatter for sure. Semper Fi from Colorado. Hope to see you guys at the parks next year!
  • 2 0
 YUT and Semper Fi! We'll hit you up on the way out 3
  • 4 0
 Retired Navy Corpsman here. I've worked in just about every department of medicine in the 22 years I was blessed to serve. At least half of my service was spent working and supervising in both inpatient and outpatient mental health services for naval personnel as well as joint service commands. If I can help in any way, I'd be honored to do so. Feel free to contact me with questions or anything else you might need. Thanks and bravo zulu!!
  • 2 0
 Thank you so much! I'll reach out this week.
  • 4 0
 @fumbles HECK YES! I love this, keep up the great work. We all fight internal battles and having others around us during tough times is so important. I live out in Kirkland and will do my best to come out tomorrow. What time are you getting going? I would love to be involved and will shoot you an email. Cheers
  • 2 0
 Hey! *sorry to everyone I haven't responded to, the support is incredible and a bit overwhelming*.

We'll be out at 10 AM - 4PM *approx* I do my best to get a good spot for the tent out in the parking lot. Feel free to swing over for a hug, crisp high five, or maybe some laps later!
  • 4 0
 Truly awesome Josh. Well done on getting the non-profit up and running. That is no small feat. I will be rooting for you and I'm certain a ton of the PB community will as well.
  • 2 0
 Thank you!
  • 4 0
 Had the pleasure of meeting Josh and having a chat at his stand at Crankworx. Awesome guy, great cause. Looks like it’s going well in the PNW. Hope to see the Send It Society spread to areas as well.
  • 2 0
 Chris! Thank you so much for the kind words. I'm figuring out how I'm going to do my "chapters" as it were.
  • 3 0
 @fumbles my wife and I were able to chat with you a bit last weekend Smile . The heavens opened up and the torrential rain hit the next day, so we headed out of town early and missed out on your offer to let her take that rad TR250 for a spin. A great cause and a super nice fella, we wish you the best!
  • 3 0
 Oh dang! I was wondering where you guys were, she seemed really pumped on it. Thank you again!
  • 3 0
 This is pretty fantastic! Mental health issues are no joke and mountain biking, connecting with nature and hanging out with like minded people are great ways to keep things "level". Thanks for doing this!
  • 2 0
 Thank you!
  • 2 0
 Very sorry for your loss. But great job for being one of the few who takes their experience and turns it into action to make the world a better place. Mental health is so important, yet so stigmatized and misunderstood. Bringing these ideas and issues into the public consciousness is the first step and most impactful step to breaking the stigma. You are doing a very good thing!

I struggled with mental health for the better part of a decade and have only recently been able to work my way through it with medication and counseling. I consider myself lucky to be alive, because there were large chunks of that time period where I thought about suicide every day, if not every hour, or every minute. Now that I have some perspective on the issue, I try to share my experience with whomever will listen. I regularly find that even among people who listen and acknowledge that mental health is an issue that people deal with, and that even they themselves may be dealing with at that very minute, many people are very close minded about seeking help from a professional, and especially about the idea of using medication to help with the process. Great job for bringing more visibility to the issue!

We need to change the dialogue around mental health to reflect the reality that it is not something that a select group of people will deal with, but something that everyone will deal with at some point in their lives. As you continue your mission of helping people relieve stress through the mystical arts of mtb shredding, it might also help to take a look at and refine some of the language you use to describe mental health issues. For example, a couple times in your article, you used quotations around the word "problems". While I know this was certainly not your intention, I think that using this technique to separate the idea of mental health issues from people's other, more tangible, day-to-day problems may actually be helping to reinforce the stigma. When reading the word "problems" in quotations out loud, I can't help but add the air-quotes motion with my fingers that people often use sarcastically to refer to problems that they don't think are important. When talking about your organization in the future, I think it may help to drop the quotations and just refer to them as problems, like any other problem that you may have in your life, whether it is a relationship, or finding a job to put food on your table, or getting rid of that annoying creek in your bottom bracket. All of these problems are real, and valid, and important, and need solving to keep us all living our best lives (especially that bottom bracket).

Anyways, best of luck to you and your organization! Thanks for doing this really important work!
  • 1 0
 Hey @moczys I want to say thank you for the long and well spoken response.

Fantastic work on being vocal on your triumphs, it helps others have hope while breaking the stigma around a incredibly important topic.

I want to be real honest with you, I don't remember putting quotations around the word problems while writing the article and I would never say problems with sarcasm especially regarding mental health. I believe all people have their own struggles in life and some are harder to certain people that might seem easier for others, simply because of their previous experiences or even resources as hand. Thank you for putting light on that and making sure it was addressed. I don't know if it is able to be changed now but I will reach out. Thank you sir.

Cheers and continue doing what you're doing friend. Thank you again.
  • 1 0
 This is important. Great work. Have you considered bike/component donation to get bikes on hand/built for your group rides? I don't have anything to donate now but I certainly will in the future and I know our community would totally step up.
  • 1 0
 Hey @daugherd I haven't actually. That's a great idea though, we recently got a frame donation so that's pretty much on point. I'll talk to our web designer for our re-work and see if we can't get that tied in.
  • 2 0
 @fumbles Mate, amazing idea and what a way to honour your friend. Props to you from a brother over the pond.
  • 2 0
 Cheers and thank you!
  • 3 0
 Great work guys!
  • 2 0
 Thank you!
  • 2 0
 Nice work!!
  • 2 0
 Thanks!

Post a Comment



Copyright © 2000 - 2019. Pinkbike.com. All rights reserved.
dv56 0.347126
Mobile Version of Website