South West community bringing Blue Tree Project to Busselton

Jackson Lavell-LeeBusselton Dunsborough Times
Email Jackson Lavell-Lee
Ren Building director Gerard Ren, Taz the dog, Shining Hope committee member Jon Eddy and Busselton Man Walk representative Mark Lane are offering a helping hand to locals with mental health concerns
Camera IconRen Building director Gerard Ren, Taz the dog, Shining Hope committee member Jon Eddy and Busselton Man Walk representative Mark Lane are offering a helping hand to locals with mental health concerns Credit: Busselton-Dunsborough Times, Jackson Lavell-Lee

A new Blue Tree Project initiative is being completed in the South West, helping to spark difficult conversation around mental health issues amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

The popular Blue Tree Project aims to encourage people to speak up when battling mental health concerns by spreading the message “it’s OK not to be OK”.

Lifeline and headspace have received an influx of calls during the pandemic, and with Busselton and Margaret River experiencing some of the highest job losses in WA, it is a timely reminder to reach out to those who may be hurting.

A new blue tree will be installed in Busselton, but combines help from around the South West via a fundraiser for the Man Walk Busselton, Shining Light and the Blue Tree Project.

Kirsten Boardman with a blue tree on the Anchovy Flats between Karratha and Dampier.
Camera IconKirsten Boardman with a blue tree on the Anchovy Flats between Karratha and Dampier. Credit: Shannon Beattie

A painting event organised by Shining Light Committee member Jon Eddy and Man Walk Busselton organiser David Barton will see people from all walks of life painting and talking about their mental health experiences.

The idea is to build the roots in the community because it’s an inverted tree to raise hope and get people talking about mental health and help reduce the stigma against suicide.

Jon Eddy

“I think it’s widespread throughout the community, and people struggle to go and find help even if they want it because they may be worried about how they are treated by their employers or family members and friends, but we need to overcome that.”

Ren Building director Gerard Ren, Taz the dog, Shining Hope committee member Jon Eddy and Busselton Man Walk representative Mark Lane are offering a helping hand to locals with mental health concerns
Camera IconRen Building director Gerard Ren, Taz the dog, Shining Hope committee member Jon Eddy and Busselton Man Walk representative Mark Lane are offering a helping hand to locals with mental health concerns Credit: Busselton-Dunsborough Times, Jackson Lavell-Lee

The logistics of the project have been difficult, with Margaret River Structural Engineers, Busselton Building Products and Trade Hire coming on board to help move the tree. Man Walk Busselton organiser David Barton commended the community for its “very positive response” in reaching out to those with depression during social restrictions.

This initiative brings together community groups, business and tourism providers around the significant issue of mental wellbeing, and strengthens the community’s fabric.

David Barton

The Blue Tree will be transported, planted and painted over the next six weeks with an official date for the painting fundraiser to be announced in next week’s Times.

Lifeline 13 11 14

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