Spread the paint, spread the message!
In Australia, it’s estimated that 45 per cent of people will experience a mental health condition in their lifetime, with 1 million Australians affected by depression and over 2 million with anxiety in any given year.
It’s a subject that resonates strongly with Yarra Golf member Bob Sonneman, who was moved to action on the issue after seeing an increasing number of suicide deaths broadcast in the daily news .
While browsing the topic online, Mr Sonneman stumbled across The Blue Tree Project, a colourful campaign raising mental health awareness by painting trees blue, a symbol to remind people to seek help if feeling blue.
With a number of golf clubs joining the campaign, Mr Sonneman quickly brought the idea to the YMGCR board. “I thought the tree idea would be good for our mental health and get some people talking about it,” Mr Sonneman said.
With donations from local businesses, WB Hunter and Stans Plant Hire, and the support and steady hand of fellow member and painter Denis Ampfea, an old but stable tree on the Lake’s 5th hole, was given a colourful facelift.
As further contribution to the cause, on the first Thursday of every month, golfers are asked to wear blue and show their support with a gold coin donation – with all proceeds to be presented to the Blue Tree Project at the end of the year.
Blue Tree Project’s mission is to help spark difficult conversations and encourage people to speak up when battling mental health concerns by kicking the stigma and spreading the message that ‘it’s ok to have a blue day’.
If you or someone you know is feeling blue, please start the conversation. For further assistance, call Lifeline on 13 11 14, or Beyond Blue 1300 22 4636.