Tree project branches out

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Tree project branches out

Afallen tree in the grounds of Millicent Hospital will be painted blue next month as a mental health gesture.

The aim of the Blue Tree project is to encourage people to start the difficult conversations and open up if they are suffering from depression and/or anxiety.

With the backing of Millicent Hospital, the paint will be applied from 10am on April 7 by members of the Wattle Range Suicide Prevention Network.

The group undertook as similar Blue Tree project in 2022 at The Domain playground in Millicent.

The 150-strong Millicent Hospital staff have been invited to participate along with members of the public.

Hundreds of other property owners across the nation have also applied blue paint to dead trees in recent years.

The local Blue Tree project participants include the Vestas maintenance workers at the Lake Bonney windfarm and Member for MacKillop Nick McBride whose Conmurra Station straddles the Princes Highway midway between Millicent and Kingston.

This project was inspired by a story that was told at the funeral of young West Australian farmer Jayden Whyte funeral in 2018.

Jayden painted a tree blue one night on his family farm in Mukinbudin after sneaking out, wondering just how long it would be before anyone noticed the deep blue tree on the horizon.

What a shock it would be when his dad came across the tree standing in the middle of the paddock proud and blue, he thought.

Jayden was close with family and friends, highly intelligent and driven.

Unfortunately, loved ones were not aware of the extent of his mental health issues and did not have the opportunity to support him in a time that would have a tragic outcome.

The blue tree now holds a whole new meaning and project promoters hope to spread a message of hope by having people paint a tree in need of a ‘blue’ lease on life.

Blue Tree Project promoters believe these blue trees that are painted across the nation and the world can act as a visual reminder to check in with a loved ones.

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