Communication the key to getting through to all

Alexander ScottNorth West Telegraph
Participants of the walk stopped for a moments silence.
Camera IconParticipants of the walk stopped for a moments silence. Credit: Pictures: Alexander Scott, Alexander Scott

Hundreds of people have taken part in a walk from Port Hedland to South Hedland to raise awareness of mental health.

Rowan’s Walk, which was held last Wednesday, involved more than 300 people taking part in an 8km hike from the Redbank Bridge rest area to the Hedland Senior High School.

HSHS student Rowan Dann, 18, created the event as a way to remember his 34-year-old aunt from Port Hedland, Geraldine Petula Maher, who took her own life two years ago.

Mr Dann said he was shocked by the number of people who took part in the walk.

“The walk was amazing, seeing all the support — it brought people together,” he said.

“I’m just hoping that people, whenever they feel down, can talk to someone.”

Mr Dann said the event showed the effect suicide had on the community.

“If this is how suicide affects people, this needs to be talked about, and people need to change for the better,” he said.

HSHS principal Bill Mann said it was amazing to see hundreds of people walking with banners and taking the opportunity to support a vital issue.

“For a young man who has been through the experiences Rowan has to take on a challenge to lead the community to consider ways of improving mental health is remarkable,” he said. Mr Mann said it was important for people to have a focus on the message “are you OK?” and it was vital for children.

“Letting kids know that there is someone they can talk to and that they can get support from reinforces the message that if you are not OK, then ask someone and talk to someone,” he said.

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