Tree blue for mental woes

Jacinta CantatoreHarvey-Waroona Reporter
Laura Watson and Ellie Gatti get things rolling with Murray Wellington MLA Robyn Clarke and Old Coast Road Brewery owner Ivanka Harris.
Camera IconLaura Watson and Ellie Gatti get things rolling with Murray Wellington MLA Robyn Clarke and Old Coast Road Brewery owner Ivanka Harris. Credit: Jacinta Cantatore

The iconic skeletal tree at the entrance to a Myalup brewery is being given a makeover to help raise awareness about mental health.

The old timber giant at Old Coast Road Brewery has become the latest Blue Tree to crop up in the South West, with others having sprouted up around the region since the project began in late 2018.

Old Coast Road Brewery owner Ivanka Harris was joined by staff, friends and family, including Murray-Wellington MLA Robyn Clarke, to begin painting the tree.

Ms Harris she had wanted to create a Blue Tree for a while and the brewery’s burnt-out tree was an ideal way to shine a spotlight on mental health.

“Everyone has crossed paths with someone who has the silent illness of mental health,” she said.

“We need to talk about it. They need to talk about it. And we need to let people know that it’s OK to talk about it.”

Ms Harris said the cause was one close to her heart, having friends and family who have battled with their invisible mental health issues.

“It is just so hidden,” Ms Harris said. “They might seem OK on the outside, but you can never know what someone is going through on the inside.

“I hope people can come here, see this and say, ‘Let’s talk about it’.”

Dana and Ellie Gatti, Laura Watson, Old Coast Road Brewery owner Ivanka Harris, Roxie Barndon and Murray Wellington MLA Robyn Clarke with the new Blue Tree.
Camera IconDana and Ellie Gatti, Laura Watson, Old Coast Road Brewery owner Ivanka Harris, Roxie Barndon and Murray Wellington MLA Robyn Clarke with the new Blue Tree. Credit: Jacinta Cantatore

Mrs Clarke said the tree was a great way to raise awareness and get people talking to their loved ones.

“Projects like this are fantastic for highlighting the hidden disease of mental illness,” she said.

“It brings out awareness that people do care and we just really need to talk about it.”

Mrs Clarke said mental health was further compounded in the regions due to isolation.

“And as farming and agriculture changes, producers are expanding their properties to get more sustainable profit margins, but it means their neighbours are then even further away,” she said.

“Neighbours can be miles away, which compounds the isolation even more.”

If this story has raised any issues for you, you can reach out to these services: Life Line on 13 11 14, Kids Help Line on 1800 551 800, Mensline on 1300 789 978, 1800 RESPECT on 1800 737 732, or the Suicide Callback Service on 1800 184 527.

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