Blue trees are a talking point for mental health

Michael TraillNarrogin Observer
VideoThe wonder in the Wheatbelt, why locals are painting trees blue.

A touching tribute with Wheatbelt origins, which has since turned into a global phenomenon, can now be found in Williams.

The Blue Tree Project was inspired by Mukinbudin’s Jayden Whyte and his friend Tjarda Tiedekn who in February of 2014, in the dead of night, decided to sneak out and paint a dead tree bright blue.

Jayden and Tjarda’s original blue tree in Mukinbudin.
Camera IconJayden and Tjarda’s original blue tree in Mukinbudin.

Tragically, Mr Whyte took his own life in November last year.

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In memory of his “free spirit”, best mate Simon Comerford painted a tree blue on Christmas Eve last year, sparking a now global symbol for mental health awareness.

With the help of a cherry picker, 17 litres of blue paint and eight other pairs of hands, Mr Whyte’s sister Erryn has brought the Blue Tree Project to Williams.

“In 2014 Jayden and his friend from Germany, Tjarda, painted a tree blue on our farm, which is quite a bizarre thing to see on a farm,” she said.

The completed blue tree in Williams.
Camera IconThe completed blue tree in Williams.

“They just did that for fun, they had some leftover paint and decided one night to sneak out in the night time with utes shining the headlights on the tree.

“It became a funny little story for them and shows Jayden’s cheeky nature.”

After Mr Comerford’s first blue tree was shared more than 20,000 times on social media, Erryn decided to turn the Blue Tree Project into an awareness campaign.

“We’re not offering a service as such, we just helping people talk about mental health,” she said.

The Blue Tree Project crew at work.
Camera IconThe Blue Tree Project crew at work.

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