Big journey for Stuart

Monday, 1st May, 2017

Stuart Churchill before his walk last year from Menindee to Broken Hill. Stuart Churchill before his walk last year from Menindee to Broken Hill.

By Daniel Stringer

A Broken Hill police officer is walking 200km to help people feel as though they are not alone.

Senior Constable Stuart Churchill is preparing to walk from Wilcannia to Broken Hill in order to raise awareness for post traumatic stress, suicide prevention and depression.

This will be the third year running that Stuart undertakes the gruelling challenge, but he says all the pain is worth it to achieve the goal.

“The goal is to raise awareness within the community,” Sen Con Churchill said.

“It doesn’t have to be that you suffer from one of the three conditions, but sometimes people feel like they are alone and that there isn’t anyone that understands.

“I really want to engage in the community and get the message across that these conditions affect everyone, it is not just those who work in emergency services.”

For Stuart this is more than just a test of physical and mental endurance, the purpose behind the challenge is much more personal.

Having faced his own battles with mental health, there is a deeper more symbolic motivation behind the journey. 

“For me personally the walk reflects my journey through post traumatic stress and anxiety, we are never completely cured of it but we learn to deal with it. 

“The journey for me represents the people that have walked with me through my journey and continue to walk with me today.”

“The walk isn’t about me and sharing my story, it is about me reaching out to people and letting them know they are not alone.”

The journey will take about a week to complete and Stuart says he has been training hard in order to prepare. No matter how much training he does however, he says nothing will keep away the dreaded blisters. 

“The training has been going well and I have been averaging 100km a week, which has been good preparation.

“My training this year has been well prepared in the sense that my feet are conditioned to walking, but at the end of the day no matter how much training I do I am still going to get blisters and I am going to get tired.” 

The walk will start in Wilcannia on May 15 and finish in Broken Hill on May 22. Anyone who would like to support Stuart and his journey can do so by donating to either Maari Ma, Police Legacy or The Black Dog Institute.