A tree in Nyngan is set to be given a 'blue' lease on life offering a strong message of mental health.
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At the March council meeting, councillors agreed to join the Blue Tree Project movement and paint a tree in the Bogan Shire blue, an idea suggested by Nyngan's Angie White.
However these blue trees are more than just for show, they are part of a Australian project to raise awareness of depression and suicide.
The project was inspired by Jayden Whyte, who along with a friend, one night decided to paint a tree blue at his family's farm in Mukinbudin, Western Australia, wondering how long it would be before anyone noticed.
Devastatingly this story of mischief was one told at his funeral in 2018.
Unbeknown to his family and friends, Jayden was dealing with significant mental health issues.
Jayden's family, including sister Kendall, decided to start The Blue Tree Project in 2019 to spread hope and let people know 'it's ok to not be ok'.
Ms White first came across the project on social media and felt "totally compelled" to try and get a tree painted in Nyngan.
"My family are farmers, as are my husband and I, and more and more people on the land are taking their lives during this most difficult time, which is so sad," she said.
"I work with kids also and I hear what they say and unfortunately and most sadly it is becoming more and more common that life is becoming too hard for some people and any way we can address this can only be a positive thing for the future of our kids and adults and our community."
Currently there are 427 trees painted blue across regional Australia and in countries overseas including New Zealand, United States and Europe.
Ms White proposed to the council that a tree be painted in the main street with a chair underneath to allow people travelling past to stop, sit and reflect on its message.
"I know it doesn't sound like much but it is just a small way of bringing our town together," she said.
"I have discussed it with the SRC at the High School and they are very keen to be involved and they amazed me with their grown up outlooks and understanding of the concept."
Bogan Shire mayor Ray Donald supported the project and said it had an important message.
"We [the council] thought that was a good idea, and we'll endeavour to find a tree to paint blue and put a seat under it," he said.
"I think the idea behind it is certainly a good one."
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