Having the blues has been given a whole new meaning as communities throughout Australia use the colour, and paint, to spread the message “it’s OK to not be OK”.
The Blue Tree Project is a national movement to prompt people to talk about mental health by painting dead trees bright blue as a conversation starter.
Busselton’s first blue tree has appeared on Busselton Bypass near Strelly Street, and its creation coincides with yesterday’s R U OK? Day.
The Busselton blue tree is a collaboration between the Water Corporation, Apex Busselton and Fairlawn Estate.
Water Corporation South West regional manager John Janssen said the organisation hoped the appearance of the tree would get people talking, and ultimately save lives.
“Mental wellbeing is such an important issue, especially in regional communities,” he said.
“It is vital we do what we can to help break down stigmas associated with mental health, and let everyone know that it’s OK to not be OK.
“The location of this tree is amazing; everyone that drives to South West past this point has to go past here, and if this starts a conversation in the car, then that’s gold.”
Fairlawn Estate owner Alex Walker said he jumped at the opportunity to be involved.
“My family has been affected by mental health issues stemming back generations to a time where you didn’t talk about it, you swept it under the carpet and it hasn’t been until recent times that we’ve been able to talk about it, and healing has been able to take place,” he said. “Being able to be part of this is a privilege, if it helps other people talk.”
A blue tree also recently appeared on Caves Road in Dunsborough.
For more information about The Blue Tree Project, visit blue treeproject.com.au.
If you are or have concerns about someone at potential risk, call Lifeline’s crisis support line, open 24 hours a day, on 13 11 14 or Beyond Blue on 1300 224 636.