Blue trees are popping up around the countryside and Moree is next in line to paint an old tree blue as part of an important mental health initiative.
The coloured trees are part of the Blue Tree Project and are used as a symbol to raise awareness and start meaningful conversations around mental health.
The blue tree echoes the message that we all have blue days, providing those currently dealing with mental illness reassurance that they are not alone and that help is available.
Earlier this year, the Warialda community painted a tree blue, and now Moree Plains Shire Council has received funding from WayAhead Small Grants to bring the Blue Tree Project to Moree, encouraging community members and passers-by to have healthy discussions about mental health.
Council's director of planning and community development Angus Witherby said the blue tree will help to break down the stigma associated with mental illness.
"The lives of many in our community, like so many others, have been deeply affected by events of the recent past; bushfires, the prolonged drought and the challenges and unsettling nature of dealing with COVID-19," he said.
"The Blue Tree Project is a unique initiative and could not be more welcomed in Moree.
"Mental health is a very important topic that people should feel comfortable talking to their friends, family and co-workers about.
"Moree's blue tree will hopefully encourage us all to speak out when doing it tough and remind us that a conversation could provide us with relief on our blue days."
Moree Plains Shire Council is currently planning a community paint day, where community members will be invited to take part in painting the tree or writing messages on river stones that will be cemented around the tree.
A local contractor has begun trimming back and painting the top of Moree's blue tree, so community members are encouraged to keep their eyes out for it.
Details regarding the community paint day will be announced closer to the date.
For more information about the Blue Tree Project, go to www.bluetreeproject.com.au
If you or someone you know needs help, support is available through Lifeline 13 11 14 www.lifeline.org.au; Suicide Call Back Service 1300 659 467 www.suicidecallbackservice.org.au;Beyond Blue 1300 224 636 www.beyondblue.org.au;MensLine Australia 1300 789 978 mensline.org.au; Kids Helpline Official 1800 551 800 kidshelpline.com.au; headspace 1800 650 890 Moree Branch - (02) 6750 8585 headspace.org.au; or healthinfonet.ecu.edu.au/