Trek for mental health

Alexander ScottNorth West Telegraph
Rowan Dann and his family at the end of the walk.
Camera IconRowan Dann and his family at the end of the walk. Credit: Alexander Scott/North West Telegraph/Alexander Scott

The Port Hedland community gathered over the weekend to take part in an annual walk to raise awareness of mental health and suicide prevention.

Known as Rowan’s Walk, the event, now in its third year, took place on Saturday morning, with hundreds of people trekking from the Redbank Bridge rest area to Kevin Scott Oval in South Hedland.

The walk was devised by Rowan Dann as a way to remember and honour his 34-year-old aunt, Geraldine Petula Maher, who took her own life three years ago.

A welcome to country was made by elder Alfred Barker after the walk was completed, before Mr Dann’s family spoke to the crowd about the importance of speaking up about mental health.

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Mr Dann’s grandfather Jerry Maher, who lost two of his children to suicide, said the walk helped his family cope with the loss.

“A walk that my grandson initiated three years ago, because with every step I take today, and as hard as it was to get to the finish line, with every last breath I was honouring my children,” he said.“I wanted to take that last walk with my children.

“I wanted the world to remember them and every other precious life that was lost to suicide.”

Mr Maher said to reach out if there were factors in your life that were bringing you down.

“Don’t suffer in silence,” he said. “Your life is precious, you are irreplaceable and you are worth fighting for.”

Mr Dann said it was extremely important that the community came together.

“Us all coming together, it shows our support,” he said.

“If people can support Rowan’s Walk, then they can support everyone else.”

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