Pony Express Ride to Raise Awareness for Children’s Mental Health

News Release
For Immediate Release: 5/17/2021

Julie Naughton, Office of Communications, DHHS (402) 471-1695 (office); (402) 405-7202 (cell);

Holly Stevens, Pony Express promotion and site visit coordinator, (308) 991-4694 (cell)

Lincoln – Volunteer motorcyclists are saddling up to ride across Nebraska from May 19 through May 22 for the 14th annual Pony Express Ride, an effort to raise awareness about children's mental health. The ride will finish at the Nebraska State Capitol at 1:30 pm on Saturday, May 22.

The ride focuses on the message that mental health is fundamental to overall health – a message shared by the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services.

These patriotic bikers will kick off their ride in Scottsbluff on Wednesday, May 19. During the ride, these dedicated riders will reenact the mail-delivery service of the storied Pony Express by picking up letters about children's mental health written by youth, their families and other supporters, which will be delivered to state employees at the State Capitol.

“For the past 14 years, these dedicated motorcyclists have been a key partner in raising awareness for children's mental health," said Sheri Dawson, director of the Division of Behavioral Health. “Half of all lifetime mental illness begins at the average age of 14 and three-quarters by age 24. For a young person with symptoms of a behavioral health disorder, the earlier treatment is started, the more effective it can be. We need to continue to normalize conversations about mental health and ensure youth and families have access to prevention and treatment services."

The riders will begin their journey in Scottsbluff on Wednesday, May 19. On Thursday, May 20, the riders will make stops in Kimball, Sidney, Ogallala, North Platte, Gothenburg and Kearney.

May 21 will take the riders to Grand Island, York, Columbus, Norfolk and Fremont. On the final day, Saturday, May 22, the riders will kick off the NAMI Nebraska Walk in Papillion before wrapping up the tour on the steps of the Nebraska State Capitol, where the letters will be delivered.

Stops to pick up letters (all times local to the city's time zone) include:

Wednesday, May 19

  • 5:30 pm, Scottsbluff – Community gathering to raise awareness for children's mental health at Cirrus House, 1130 M St.

Thursday, May 20

  • 8:10 am, Kimball
  • 9:00 am, Sidney – Family 4Ward, 1105 Illinois Ave.
  • 9:30 am, Sidney – Kids Korner, 627 Toledo St.
  • 11:10 am, Ogallala – Keith County CASA, 307 W. A St.
  • 1:45 pm, North Platte – Family 1st Partnership event, Cody Park Pavilion
  • 3:20 pm, Gothenburg – Community Resource Fair at Pony Express Station, 510 15th St.
  • 5:10 pm, Kearney – Event with Families CARE, 2401 Central Ave.

Friday, May 21:

  • 9:00 am, Grand Island –  Boystown Behavioral Health Clinic, 2313 N. Webb Rd.
  • 11:00 am, York –  Wessels Living History Farm, 5520 S. Lincoln Ave., followed by a parade from 11:45 am to 12:20 pm
  • 1:20 pm, Columbus – Youth & Families for Christ, 2809 13th St. 
  • 3:35 pm, Norfolk – Public event with Parent to Parent Network, Ta Ha Zouka Park
  • 5:30 pm, Fremont – Rodeway Inn, 120 Cathy St.

Saturday, May 22:

  • 9:10 am, Papillion: Kickoff for NAMI Walk, 12356 Ballpark Way
  • 1:30 pm: Arrive at Nebraska State Capitol Building to deliver letters

Help is available. If you or a loved one need assistance, please reach out to:

  • Nebraska Family Helpline – Any question, any time. (888) 866-8660
  • Rural Response Hotline, (800) 464-0258
  • Disaster Distress Helpline: 1-800-985-5990 (oprime dos para Español) or text TalkWithUs to 66746.
  • National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-TALK (8255) for English, 1-888-628-9454 para Español
  • National Domestic Violence Hotline: 1-800-799-7233 or text LOVEIS to 22522
  • National Child Abuse Hotline: 1-800-4AChild (1-800-422-4453) or text 1-800-422-4453
  • National Sexual Assault Hotline: 1-800-656-HOPE (4673)

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