Clara Hughes cycles North on 'Big Ride' for mental health

Olympian Clara Hughes is in Iqaluit today as part of her 'Big Ride' across Canada to fight the stigma around mental health.

Olympian in Iqaluit today, Rankin Inlet, Yellowknife, Inuvik and Whitehorse to follow

Olympian Clara Hughes is in Iqaluit today as part of her 'Big Ride' across Canada to promote mental health and fight the stigma surrounding mental illness.

The six-time Olympic medallist competed in both the summer and winter Olympics in mountain biking and speedskating.

She has also had her own struggles with depression.

"I hope I can share that and let people know that they're not alone," she said.

"Even people who seem like they have everything together and can do anything and they're superhuman — we're all human and we all struggle and we have moments of joy if we're lucky. The struggle is the thing that connects us all."

Hughes visited Aqsarniit Middle School Thursday and will be meeting with Inuksuk High School students and elders Friday afternoon.

She says it's important for anyone struggling with a mental health issue to talk about it. And Hughes says Northerners have something else to draw on for support.

"The connection that the people of the North have shared with me with the land has made me feel stronger inside and has made me sort some things out," she said. "So, I think that's a really important element as well."

Hughes will stop in Rankin Inlet briefly on Saturday before heading on to Yellowknife. She's expected to arrive in Inuvik May 6 to begin a ride down the Dempster Highway. See Hughes' full schedule here.