Young model gears up to bike 300+ miles to bring awareness to mental health

NEW YORK CITY (WABC) -- A young man is biking hundreds of miles to bring awareness to mental health.

Kevin Hubsmith is the picture-perfect image of health and happiness.

From the outside, this male model has it all. The glitz and the glamour.

But looks can be deceiving.

"It started in high school. I actually had an incident with self-harm, which was my first real big obstacle with mental health," Hubsmith said. "Got some treatment and then went off to college and had a little bit of a manic episode in college actually."

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That's when Hubsmith decided to spend 76 days in the wilderness.

Nine years ago, he went to an outdoor therapy retreat in the Moab Desert in Utah.

So next Wednesday he's going back to where it all started for him. A full circle moment.

He's planning to do a three-day ride, from Salt Lake City to Moab. A distance of more than 300 miles.

But first, he's in New York with a few friends and cycling teammates to raise awareness for men's mental health and to fundraise for the cause.

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"A lot of people don't look at males to have emotions. So I didn't really wanna share. It was very difficult. I felt a lot of pressure," Hubsmith said. "So then when I finally did share, it felt right. It felt like it was the right time in the world. A lot of people are going through it."

Stuck in the middle of this pandemic, many people are experiencing isolation, at the same time.

Experts say around the world, anxiety, depression, loneliness and despair are triggering mental health struggles like never seen before.

"Mental illness is not just something you can just power through. So I think to some extent, maybe an over-generalization, men face more of an uphill battle because of ... that you know macho tough guy persona," ABC New Chief Medical Correspondent Dr. Jen Ashton said. "I really think that the best way to overcome the stigma that men face, in particular dealing with mental illness is to start early. What does that mean? It means that we start talking to little boys about how to deal with their feelings. That it's ok to cry, that it's ok to be scared, that there's no shame in asking for help."

Hubsmith says what he would love, is a world where it's okay to talk about how you feel.

A fundraiser has been set up online for anyone who would like to contribute to his cause.

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