Blue tree 'sprouts' in time of need

A bright blue tree on Cleve Road has popped up in the last week to highlight the need for more conversations around mental health.

The Cleve Mental Health and Wellbeing group painted the tree last weekend, and have plans to keep going once social distancing regulations are lifted.

Group member Erin Roberts said the tree was on the golf course and in a good position to see from the road and within walking distance of town.

"It's on the Cleve road toward Mangalo...a few of us painted it last weekend from the mental health and wellbeing group," she said.

"It just recognises mental health and is a bit of a symbol.

"I want this tree to be a visual reminder for people to talk and check on their mates, and also a symbol of hope for those that are struggling, that you are not alone.

"We thought it was something simple we could do as a small group and have an impact.

"Mental health is often a taboo subject and in a country community especially as we try to be stoic and battle on.

"I hope this tree breaks down that, even a bit, and starts a conversation about the importance of mental health and that seeking help is not showing weakness, but strength."

Mrs Roberts said while it was obviously hard to hear feedback during social distancing, she had noticed lots of people slowing down near the tree and feedback on social media had also been positive.

She said while it was hard at the moment due to isolation regulations, there were other ways people were connecting.

"Obviously at the moment it is a bit hard, we're all quite socially isolated," she said.

"But what it shows is really there are other ways to communicate and we're hoping it will spark some conversations."

Mrs Roberts said they were also hoping to paint more trees in their district area in Mangalo, Darke Peak and in Arno Bay.

To learn more about the Blue Tree Project, visit their Facebook at facebook.com/bluetreeproject.com.au/ or visit bluetreeproject.com.au.

Visit the Cleve Mental Health and Wellbeing group Facebook page here.

If this article has raised any issues for you, please contact Lifeline on 13 11 14 or visit beyondblue.org.au.