Mundulla’s turning blue for mental health

BEFORE: Geoff Guy has led the charge in painting this Moot-Yang-Gunya Swamp tree blue for mental health. Picture: Sophie Conlon

Sophie Conlon

What is believed to be the Tatiara’s first blue tree has been painted in Mundulla.

Geoff Guy had the idea to paint a tree to raise awareness and start conversation around mental health after seeing blue trees on holiday.

“I got the idea out of Western Australia, I was there a few years ago on holiday and there was these blue trees everywhere,” he said.

“I enquired what they were about and they said ‘oh they’re there for mental health’ and there’s been a few issues around here and I thought we should do something.”

Mr Guy said the tree was not painted as a memorial, rather to start a conversation.

Nick Williams and Matt Norman donated paint and time to the project and the local Country Fire Service hosed down the tree to give it a clean before work began.

With the tree located in Moot-Yang-Gunya Swamp and visible from Rowney Road, Mr Guy said it was conspicuous.

“You see reports in the paper two or three times a week with what’s going on, this person took their own life and other things,” he said.

“Especially women are feeling the brunt of it, people are getting attacked by knives and I think drugs and alcohol are half the problem.

“So let’s just hope people get to know what a blue tree is for and it might be a reminder, if that’s enough to save one life then that’s a bonus.”

Tatiara Wellness Fund chair Matt Rowett said the project had been a little while in the making.

“Geoff has done a great job,” he said.

“Previously the Tatiara Wellness Fund had spoken about doing a blue tree project somewhere in the Tatiara and we thought perhaps we could go to each of the sporting grounds.”

“So when Geoff came to me and said ‘I’d like to do something for mental health for Mundulla’ … I said perhaps we could work together and make something happen.”

Mr Rowett said everyone had different understanding of mental health and anything that could help raise awareness was positive.

While there are a few blue trees in the Limestone Coast, Mr Guy and Mr Rowett agreed it would be nice to see more in the Tatiara region.

“I just think it’d be nice if we could get a few more as an awareness,” Mr Guy said.

Mr Rowett encouraged other groups to contact him on 0407 180 166 if they wanted help from the Tatiara Wellness Fund to create a blue tree.

Mr Guy said on Saturday, May 18, he would host a ‘bring your own’ community barbecue from midday for people to come out and see what the project was all about.