Blue tree near Nabawa grows black dog awareness

Peter SweeneyMidwest Times
The blue tree on Chapman Valley Road, near Nabawa.
Camera IconThe blue tree on Chapman Valley Road, near Nabawa. Credit: The Midwest Times, Peter Sweeney

It mightn’t be as tall as other trees in regional WA being painted blue but it will deliver the same powerful message.

This pruned and painted tree, near Nabawa on the Chapman Valley Road and just a few hundred metres from Fig Tree Crossing, is part of the Blue Tree Project.

Selected trees across the country are being spread with blue paint so the message — it’s OK not to be OK — can be spread. They are becoming a talking point for mental health issues.

The paint is hardly dry on the tree in the Chapman Valley but it’s “mum’s the word” on who did it and when.

“Let’s just say a group of concerned locals got together and painted the tree,” one Chapman Valleyite, who asked not to be named, said.

“In a way, it randomly appeared.

“It is not big, it’s only a little old dead jam tree. We don’t have many tall trees up here like they do down south, but it’s part of the same project.”

“It’s just off the road and people will notice it and hopefully talk about the fact that it’s OK not to be OK.

“As a rural community, we are no stranger to these (mental health) issues.”

The Blue Tree Project appears to have had its origins in the Wheatbelt, when five years ago Mukinbudin’s Jayden Whyte and a German friend painted a dead tree bright blue in the dead of night.

Mr Whyte took his life last November.

In his memory, best mate Simon Comerford painted a tree blue on Christmas Eve, sparking a now global symbol for mental health awareness.

When Mr Comerford’s first blue tree was shared more than 20,000 times on social media, Mr Whyte’s sister, Erryn, decided to turn the Blue Tree project into an awareness campaign. She and eight other people slapped 17 litres of paint on a tree in Williams. Another enormous sized tree has been painted near Katanning in the last fortnight.

“It’s not about a service as such, it’s just helping people talk about mental health,” Ms Whyte said.

Local people have painted trees blue in Badgingarra, Northampton and Leeman and elsewhere in the State.

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