Shoalhaven News

Berrara blue tree to start the conversation

blue_tree.jpg

Blue trees at Cudmirrah Beach and the Sussex Inlet Golf Course are trending on social media this summer, but the artworks aren't just beautiful, they carry a serious message.

RUOk? ambassador and part-time Berrara resident Garry Sims, says by snapping and sharing photos of the blue trees, with the hash-tag RUOk? people are raising awareness of suicide in Australia.

He took a photo of the blue beach tree yesterday which attracted more than 100 comments, but Mr Sims says many people didn't know  what the artwork was all about.

"A lot of people commented that they found the tree very striking, but didn't know what was about, so it started the conversation," he said.

"We need people to be talking about mental health and asking RUOk?

"Sharing photos of the blue trees is really a way of taking a message and making it go viral."

Mr Sims, a police officer, says the Blue Tree Project is taking off around the country and highlights the eight people, on average, that take their own life every day in Australia.

He says no part of the community is immune to suicide.

"In my work in NSW police, I see the tragedy that suicide causes - friends, families, workmates all suffer.

"We have to do something to prevent the loss of Australian lives."

Mr Sims says we need to make people realise that a conversation can change a life.

"There are a lot of people at the moment, for a number of reasons, dealing with mental health issues.

"These visual type of signs, such as the Blue Tree Project, make people think about how important it is to have a conversation.

"It's a very simple project, and it's just as simple for a conversation to start by asking Are You OK?"

To find out more about the project go to https://www.bluetreeproject.com.au/

If you need help, call Beyond Blue 1300 22 4636 or Lifeline 13 11 14.

Photo Garry Sims.

Tags: shoalhaven, RUOK?, berrara, suicide, blue tree project