WHENEVER Ian Price and his step-brother Gareth Berrow felt down, they were firm believers in the power of nature to clear their heads and wash their worries away.

Tragically, Mr Berrow took his own life last year, and when Mr Price was thinking of a way to honour his memory, he could think of no better way than a extremely challenging – but equally uplifting – hike through the Monmouthshire countryside.

Mr Price joined 15 of Mr Berrow’s friends and family last week to hike from Chepstow Castle, via Tintern and Monmouth to Symond’s Yat, in his memory and to raise awareness about mental health and male suicide – issues which are often ignored or swept under the carpet.

“The biggest problem is it’s such a hard subject that nobody wants to talk about,” Mr Price said. “Maybe unless you’re touched by it or bereaved, you never talk about it, and that’s part of the problem.”

Since Mr Berrow’s death in February 2018, which Mr Price described as “sudden” and “heartbreaking”, the family was left to “pick up the pieces” and try to work out what had happened.

“One thing is that there isn’t much awareness around what help you can get and where you can get it from,” Mr Price said. After he was told about Newport Mind, a local mental health support organisation, Mr Price paid them a visit.

“I couldn’t believe the amount of activities they had – like art classes, walking, and running,” he said. “They know there isn’t a one-size-fits-all approach to mental health.

“They inspired me and I thought if Gareth were here, he’d want to support them.”

Mr Price said he and his step-brother were “massive believers in the power of nature on the mind”, and always went on long walks to “reset” themselves, both when they were growing up together in Newport and as adults.

He organised the hike in Mr Berrow’s memory, giving his friends and family a chance to bond and talk about what had happened to Mr Berrow, as well as about their own problems.

After a “brutal” hike, the group’s plan to canoe back down the Wye was scuppered by a storm, coincidentally named Gareth.

The group raised £3,000 for Newport Mind and Mr Price hoped their journey would help encourage people to open up about their problems and a subject which is, for many people, an uncomfortable one.

“Don’t ever underestimate how much you are valued and loved,” he said.