Olympic speedskater and cyclist Clara Hughes is now in Whitehorse as part of her Big Ride across Canada, asking people to talk openly about mental health.

Prior to arriving in Whitehorse, Hughes cycled down the Dempster Highway from Inuvik, N.W.T., in five days with two helicopter airlifts over river crossings, before a stop in Dawson City.

She arrived at the Whitehorse airport Monday afternoon.

Hughes wants to end the social stigma around mental illness.

"It's a major issue, there are major gaps in funding, and resources and access to care and then there are people in the communities that are taking things into their own hands, and are making things happen."

She wants Canadians to keep talking about mental heath issues and hopes more Canadians will support mental health causes in their own communities.

"Find out what's lacking, and try to make a difference. Volunteer," she said.

"If you want to give money to something, if you give charitable dollars every year, look at mental health."

Hughes will be visiting Whitehorse for the next two days. On Wednesday, she'll pay a visit to the Jackson Lake Healing Centre and students at Vanier Catholic Secondary School.

She'll meet members of the public Wednesday at a ride/walk from Shipyards Park to the Waterfront Wharf over the noon hour and she'll be at a community barbecue and concert, at 5:30 p.m., at the Mount McIntyre Recreation Centre.

She leaves for Victoria, B.C. on Thursday to start cycling her way back to Ontario, where her trip began in March. Her ride finishes in Ottawa on Canada Day.