Royce Hardman and his dog Trigger are currently travelling from South Australia to Cairns raising awareness of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) along the way.
Royce developed PTSD after serving with the Australia Army in Afghanistan in 2009.
Since developing the disorder, Royce has openly spoken about his struggles with alcoholism, anger, depression, isolation and attempted suicide since his discharge from the army.
He credits his dog Trigger with saving his life.
Royce and Trigger began their trek in September 2015 by walking 800km from Rockingham through to South-west WA, however the mental and physical toll of walking became to much for them and they suspended the trek early.
At the beginning of this year they returned to their trek, this time driving in an ex-Army Landrover from South Australia to Cairns.
PSTD is estimated to effect at least 10 per cent of Australian Defence Force personnel.
Statistics show 41 Australians have been killed in Afghanistan since 2001, and over 300 veterans have committed suicide since.
Royce said that the Australian Defence Force automatically discharge personnel who are diagnosed with PTSD as ‘unfit for service’, a policy which he believes contributes to veteran suicides rates.
“My goal is to encourage PTSD sufferers to seek professional counselling and encourage them to share their stories on the Trigger’s Big Trek Facebook page as a way of giving hope, encouragement and support to others who are struggling to cope with PTSD,” Royce said.