Supporters of mental health and suicide awareness in the South West joined forces on Sunday to paint the first of Margaret River's blue trees, as part of the national Blue Tree Project. The soaring jarrah is located on the Stammers farm at 1793 Rosa Brook Road, and was sourced after local campaigner Jacqui Simons put the call out on Facebook to find a suitable tree.
"The Blue Tree Project began after a young man in country WA called Jayden painted a tree on his dad's farm a deep blue along with some of his mates," Ms Simons explained. "What was a harmless bit of fun between friends took on a more serious tone when Jayden tragically took his own life after being released from hospital twice in one day."
After losing her own mother last year to suicide, and realising the sheer volume of help needed by people in her own backyard, Ms Simons was determined to spread the Blue Tree Project message.
"Today we are remembering mum with some special butterflies attached to this tree, as a dedication to her inspiring us to make this a reality," she told the Mail at the site of the tree. "Now, we are very keen to source more of these trees in the region, so that people driving along highways and roads can see them from afar and be prompted to find out what they're all about.
"At the root of it also is a sense of community, we are all out here today, people of all ages and walks of life, grabbing a brush and making this ancient tree stand out for a good purpose."
Thanks to the generosity of the Stammers family, and Margaret River's Home Hardware and Trade Hire, what began as a mission to source a suitable tree quickly grew into a painting day, with a cherry picker and all the paint donated by the two businesses.
"To say we are grateful is a massive understatement, and on behalf of everyone coping with mental illness and depression in the South West, thank you to everyone who has helped us achieve this magnificent goal."
Do you have a suggestion for a tree that can be painted for the project? Can you help with painting? All you need to do is email email@example.com with the location and the Blue Tree Project team will do the rest. If you or someone you know needs support contact the Suicide Call Back Service on 1300 659 467, or the Kids Helpline on 1800 55 1800.