Blue Tree offers hope

Michael TraillNarrogin Observer
WACA Narrogin students painting the college’s Blue Tree.
Camera IconWACA Narrogin students painting the college’s Blue Tree. Credit: Supplied.

An old sugar gum has been transformed at the WA College of Agriculture — Narrogin, sending visitors, students and staff an important message as they enter the college.

In the lead-up to the college’s wellbeing day last Wednesday, students painted the sugar gum blue as part of the now-global Blue Tree Project which began in the Wheatbelt.

The Blue Tree Project promotes conversations on mental health and suicide prevention.

‘R U OK?’ can now be read on the WA College of Agriculture’s very own Blue Tree.

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Head of trades Mitchell Wray said students were becoming more open about their mental wellbeing.

WACA Narrogin students in front of their new Blue Tree.
Camera IconWACA Narrogin students in front of their new Blue Tree. Credit: Supplied

“Students are much more approachable about it (talking about mental health) now. It’s more open which is a good thing,” he said.

“It’s more accepted that people aren’t always OK.”

Mr Wray said the agricultural industry had traditionally been a difficult environment for the discussion of those issues — something the college’s blue tree and wellbeing day could eventually change.

“Everything we do here is related to industry we hope we could have an impact,” he said.

“Being rural and from farming backgrounds, people have this common perception that if you talk about your feelings, then it’s a sign of weakness and that you’re not dealing with it yourself.

“I think we’re starting to cross that barrier where people are talking and getting help before it is too late.”

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