If you’ve seen the wrapped blue trees down St Georges Terrace, then you may already be aware of Kendall Whyte and the incredible work she is doing at Blue Tree Project, and if not, read below to find out more about her story and why it’s OK not to be OK.
From October 6-12, the City of Perth aim to bring awareness to suicide prevention, encouraging people to talk about mental health in the city and beyond by wrapping the trees blue in support of Mental Health Week.
As an initiative by Kendall Whyte, The Blue Tree Project began with a tragic personal loss of Kendall’s brother, Jayden.
“The Blue Tree Project was inspired by a story that was shared at my brother, Jayden's funeral in November last year after taking his life. Jayden painted a tree blue one night on our family farm, in Mukinbudin after sneaking out, wondering just how long it would be before anyone noticed the deep blue tree on the horizon. The blue tree now holds a whole new meaning and we have seen over 300 trees given a ‘blue’ lease on life. We believe these blue trees that are painted across not only Australia, but around the world can act as a visual reminder to check in with a loved one, a friend that’s having a rough time or even checking in on yourself.”
With a purpose to spread the paint, and spread the message, Blue Tree Project’s mission is to help spark difficult conversations and encourage people to speak up when battling mental health concerns, and during this week, they’re providing a platform for communities, families and the City of Perth to come together for this important cause.
Joining the Spacecubed community under our Intensify Scholarship, Kendall aims to continue spreading the word with like minded individuals, growing her community and breaking down the stigma that’s still largely attached to mental health.
“I’m still learning how to get comfortable with being uncomfortable,” she shares. “As I manoeuvre through the challenges and rewards of working with a social enterprise and investing all my time into the project moving forward into 2020.”
As a nominated finalist for West Australian of the Year Award within the Youth Category, a News Editor at Seven West Media and coordinating The Blue Tree Project, Kendall is excited to join the Spacecubed community and push herself to get the most out of each week. “I have seen the schedule for this week alone - and I am just astounded with what there is on offer. I feel very grateful that I can be a part of this.”
So, this week, and every week from now, remember that it’s okay not to be okay, and use the blue wrapped trees across Perth to start a conversation. As Kendall finishes, “None of us are able to get through mental health difficulties unless we are first willing to have a conversation and second, we are willing to seek help and support. Fear of judgment, outdated prejudice and stigma that is still attached to mental health concerns mean that many people are staying quiet about their inner challenges.”
“We hope that Blue Tree Project can help us change the way we talk about mental health and help grow mentally healthy future generations. So, let’s spread the paint and spread the message that its ok to not be ok.”
If you want to find out more about Blue Tree Project or get in contact with Kendall on how you can support this initiative, please visit www.bluetreeproject.com.au or @bluetreeproject on Instagram.