Member for Northern Tablelands Adam Marshall, left, and youth leader and Walcha Blue Tree Project founder Angus Scrivener helping paint a tree blue at the entrance to Walcha last Saturday.
Tuesday, 13 September 2022
MEMBER for Northern Tablelands Adam Marshall grabbed a brush last weekend and joined the Walcha community to apply the first splashes of paint and officially launch the Blue Tree Project for Walcha, a community initiative spearheaded by young Walcha leader Angus Scrivener.
The Blue Tree Project promotes awareness of mental health and suicide prevention through the painting of a dead tree at the entrance to the community, bright blue.
Mr Marshall said the Blue Tree for Walcha aimed to support recovery and boost resilience for young people in the region following the impacts of natural disasters and COVID-19.
“I was incredibly proud to join the Walcha community on Saturday morning, coincidently World Suicide Prevention Day, to help officially launch the town’s Blue Tree project,” Mr Marshall said.
“This is all an effort to spark those difficult conversations about and around mental health, simply because a single tree on the side of the road is something out of the blue!
“It also attempts to destigmatise the perception around mental health and spreads the fundamental message of ‘It’s ok to NOT be ok’.
“We all know that depression, anxiety, loneliness and despair take far too many lives in rural Australia, particularly men, and these trees help bring these often taboo issues out of the dark and into the light.
“Walcha now joins other communities across our region, like Warialda, Moree, Guyra and Bundarra with ‘blue trees’.”
Mr Marshall said he was pleased the State Government provided $9,500 in funding for the project
“Once completed, the blue tree will stand as a permanent reminder of the importance of taking care of our mental health, particularly for rural communities where people have faced bushfires, floods, drought and a pandemic in recent years,” he said.
“The blue tree will also display signage and points of contact for mental health services and assistance available to those who need help.”
Mr Marshall congratulated Angus Scrivener on his commitment and passion to build the emotional and social resilience of the community and open the conversation on mental health.
“Angus is an amazing young man in Walcha who has made this project his passion and dream, bringing together the local council, Rotary Club and other organisations to make this happen,” Mr Marshall said.
“Congratulations to Angus and everyone in Walcha who has worked hard to turn this dream into reality.”