In 2014, farmer Jayden Whyte painted a dead tree the colour blue in the middle of his paddock at his family’s Mukinbudin farm. In November last year, Jayden tragically took his own life. The Blue Tree Project is a memoir to him, after his father, Grant, suggested that trees around the town be painted blue both in memory of him, but also as a visual reminder to all of us to check up on those around you.
When the photo of the blue tree was posted on Facebook, the project became viral, and was successful in raising awareness about mental health and suicide prevention. The hope was that painting trees blue would also create discussion, where seeing a blue tree will prompt people to remind someone its alright to feel “blue” once in a while, and to talk to those around them about their feelings and mental health
The blue trees are a symbol of strength and hope; even seemingly dead trees stand strong, with their branches reaching out to those around them, and can provide hope that, as more and more trees are painted, tragedies like Jayden’s can be further prevented.
In honour of Men’s Health Week, we urge that all men take time to focus on their mental health and reach out to those around them if they are struggling, especially during exam periods.
According to Beyond Blue, men were three times more likely than women to die by suicide during 2016-17. In Australia, six men die by suicide every day. In 2007 the National Survey of Mental Health and Wellbeing found that only 27.5 per cent of men with a mental disorder had accessed services.
If you feel you might be experiencing depression or anxiety, there are some symptoms that can be detectable. Men are much more likely to see the physical symptoms, which include regularly feeling tired and fluctuations in weight. Emotional symptoms may be things like feeling more angry or irritable, rather then feeling low. Another sign may be losing interest in activities you normally enjoy, such as going out with friends, sports, or gardening.
As someone who has had many struggles with mental health, I found that speaking out was dramatically beneficial; my best friend helped tell those around me, which led me to get the support I needed. Don’t feel like you’re alone, there are many people around you who care.
If you or someone you know need help, call;
- Emergency on 000
- Lifeline on 13 11 14
- MensLine Australia on 1300 789 978
- Suicide Call Back Service on 1300 659 467
- Beyond Blue on 1300 22 46 36
- Headspace on 1800 650 890