Thursday, May 26, 2022

Blue lease on life

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Gabrielle Duykers, Naracoorte Community News

Blue tree
Naracoorte Suicide Prevention Network members (L-R) Lyn Schinckel, Vivienne Hocking, Julia Arnold. Photo – supplied.

A dead tree outside Lucindale has been transformed into a bright blue beacon which local suicide prevention advocates hope will help spark conversations around mental health.  

The initiative, funded by Wellbeing SA, was an effort from the Naracoorte and Districts Suicide Prevention Network (NDSPN) as part of the national Blue Tree Project.

The project encourages people to paint a dead tree and ideally prompt onlookers to ask questions or speak up about their mental wellbeing. 

NDSPN spokesperson Vivienne Hocking said the tree’s striking colour would grab the attention of passers-by.

“We just want to let people know that it’s okay to not be okay,” Mrs Hocking said. “For them to be reminded that they need to look after their mental health and also the mental health of their family and friends.” 

While the Blue Tree Project has seen 36 blue trees pop up around South Australia, the Lucindale addition is the first to feature in the Limestone Coast. 

Statistics from the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare state that 54 Limestone Coast residents took their own lives between 2015 and 2019.

“A conversation can save a life, so we really want to break the stigma down when it comes to (talking about) mental health issues,” Mrs Hocking said.

The tree is located next to the Four Mile Road picnic area and was painted with the help of local community members, with equipment provided by the Lucindale Lions Club and Lucindale Paving. 

Naracoorte Community News 17 November 2021

If you or anyone you know is struggling with mental health, call Lifeline on 13 11 14. 

This article appeared in Naracoorte Community News, 17 November 2021.

Related story: Blue trees branching out for better mental health

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