“It’s okay to be not okay”

“It’s okay to be not okay”

Lions Club of Canning City president Eddie Evans hopes trees like this one in Queens Park will prompt much needed discussions about mental health. Photograph – Aaron Van Rongen.

Eddie Evans knows there are a lot of people doing it tough throughout the City of Canning.

The Lions Club of Canning City president also knows that the thing about doing it tough is that people don’t like to talk about it.

To that end, the Lions Club of Canning City partnered with the City of Canning to install two blue trees during WA Mental Health Week in an effort to spark a conversation about mental health.

With its roots in the Wheatbelt, the Blue Tree Project has become an Australia-wide phenomenon and as Mr Evans explains, the blue trees – one on Massey Park in Rossmoyne and one in Mary MacKillop Park in Queens Park – are designed to be a starting point to talk about things that many would rather not.

We’ve done it to help raise awareness of mental health in the community,” Mr Evans said.

“There’s a lot of people doing it tough this year particularly with COVID-19.

“People have lost jobs, there’s a lot of anxiety in the community and not only that there’s a lot of people suffering depression, have experienced the loss of loved ones, and it’s something that people don’t like to talk about.

“We want to put it out there a bit and get people to start conversations, that it’s okay to be not okay.

“To get people talking and if they’re not feeling the best, they can turn to someone and discuss it.”

With the City of Canning pinpointing the location of the trees, City contractor Beaver Tree Services supplied cherry pickers to strip bark from the top of the trees and paint the upper reaches.

On Saturday the community was invited to paint the remaining three metres of the Queens Park tree.

Mr Evans said he hoped the tree would prompt the discussions we don’t like to have, but are essential to our wellbeing.

He also thanked the City of Canning for their invaluable help.

“The City has been very supportive, and with their help we’ll look to do more in 2022.”