As Donna Bowman walked into Camperdown on Friday, memories of her husband Tony, hard at work at the local police station came to mind.
Tony Bowman was a leading senior constable at the Camperdown station throughout the 90s, but after leaving the force some years ago he, sadly, took his own life about this time last year.
“We didn’t see it coming at all,” Mrs Bowman said.
“I’d known him for 28 years and he was the same that night as he was any other night.
“He was never diagnosed with depression or Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) or anything like that.
“We’ll never know why he did what he did, there was no note.”
Mrs Bowman strode into Camperdown on the latest leg of her ‘Those Left Behind’ awareness and fundraising walk, which will see her walk 3000 kilometres around Victoria to draw attention to the people left behind in such tragic circumstances.
Along the way she hopes to raise awareness about the stress police members can find themselves under, the need to talk about their feelings and to seek help.
“I can’t say that Tony had PTSD, but I do know that what police see on a day to day basis can be incredibly confronting and distressing,” Mrs Bowman said.
“They see the worst of humanity.
“I want police members to be able to talk about what they’ve seen and how they’re feeling and to know that it’s okay to do that.
“I want to break down any stigmas that might stop people from talking and seeking help.”
The walk is expected to take two months and funds raised along the way will be donated to the Victoria Police Psychology Unit to help others dealing with the suicide of a loved one.
Mrs Bowman said the resources and help provided through the unit was the reason she was alive today.
“I’m doing this to save lives and to help those who have been left behind,” she said.
“It’s helping me overcome the trauma by making something good come out of something so tragic.”