From Bunbury to Sydney: Dean's huge strides for great cause

Struggling with mental illness is unfortunately common for many Australian's, with one in five people suffering from the illness.

Ex-Bordertown resident Dean Summers has taken it upon himself to to raise much needed awareness for suicide prevention and mental health by undertaking a massive journey across Australia.

His journey began in August 23 last year, when he left Bunbury in Western Australia with the hopes of finishing his gigantic 'Walk for Hope' in the bright lights of Sydney.

Mental illness is something Dean has experienced on multiple occasions, stating that he has suffered from depression throughout his life, along with attempting to end his own life.

The original idea of undertaking the walk stems back seven years, but different circumstances forced him to put the ambitious journey on hold.

It wasn't until one of his close friends took his own life before he decided that he wouldn't wait any longer to raise some much needed awareness.

"A friend of mine took his own life and that resulted in my life spiraling out of control - that's when I decided to raise awareness for mental illness and suicide prevention," Dean said.

"I want to let people know that it is OK not to feel OK."

With determination to make a difference, Dean took to the bitumen and began his emotionally fueled journey.

Each of the days would take a physical and emotional toll, but after close to six months of walking through Western Australia and South Australia, he reached his "favourite SA town of all-time".

Dean said it may have added roughly 450km to his journey, but there was no way he was going to miss the opportunity to visit Bordertown, a town he used to call home.

"I used to live in Bordertown about 11 years ago - the town made me feel like a local," Dean said.

"It is good to get back to the town and show it some respect - it was definitely a place that I had to visit."

He said he had nothing but kind words for the town that gave so much to him, even admitting he got emotional at the sight of the town's welcome signs.

"It's such a beautiful town and it's one that I hold close to my heart - it was quite emotional seeing the town's signs again," he said.

Officially arriving in Bordertown on Monday, Dean said he it was a precious moment being able to meet up with old friends from yesteryear.

He also mentioned the town was pretty similar to when he left, allowing him to reminisce on previous experiences he had in the town.

"When I arrived it was good to see that many of the local businesses were still there - there are some small differences but not a lot has changed since I left," Dean said.

Throughout his journey, he said he has averaged close to 40 kilometres per day, often spending three to four days resting in a specific town.

He officially clocked over 3000 kilometres in between Keith and Bordertown, and due to the emotional connection he has with Bordertown, will spend the next week resting in the town.

Dean hasn't set a date on when he expects to reach Sydney, but the amount of support he has received over the last couple months will give him the strength to power through the last of the epic journey.

He mentioned a number of people have invited the inspirational man into their homes during his journey, and to them he is incredibly thankful.

Residents are encouraged to send their best wishes to Dean or give a kind donation to a charity of choice.

Some of the many mental health or suicide prevention charities include; Beyond Blue, Suicide Awareness, Black Dog Institute, Lifeline and the National LGBTI Health Alliance.

Residents can follow Dean's journey by visiting his social media page at: https://www.facebook.com/events/110309807074865/