Blue tree a beacon of hope

BLUE TREE PROJECT: Allison and Rob Southon in front of the blue tree they painted on Sunday.

BLUE TREE PROJECT: Allison and Rob Southon in front of the blue tree they painted on Sunday.

Blue trees have been sprouting up around Australia after one man left a legacy of the idea in Western Australia after he died by suicide.

Now the project has reached the Lower Eyre Peninsula with locals Allison and Rob Southon painting a blue tree just outside Poonindie off the Lincoln Highway.

The couple have lost friends to suicide and wanted to continue the project's mantra of starting the conversation about mental health.

"It's a talking point and you don't need government grants, you just need a tin of paint," Mrs Southon said.

She said even if people did not know the full story when they saw the blue tree she hoped it would encourage them to find out more.

"If it saves just one person...it's a beacon to say that there is hope," she said.

Mrs Southon said they were adamant they would get the project done in time for Mental Health Week this week, painting the tree in two hours last weekend and adding solar fairy lights to light it up at night.

The Southons approached the owner of the land, Richard Curtis. "I didn't know him from a bar of soap but all you've got to do is just ask," Mrs Southon said.

Mr Curtis said he told the couple to "help themselves" and cut a section of his crop to allow them to access the tree.

"It looks magnificent...and blue's my favourite colour," he said.

He said he initially tried to burn the stump out after it survived a bushfire and remove it with a tractor but "now it can stay".

Mr and Mrs Southon painted a blue tree in their yard, which they said had led to them meeting three of their neighbours they had previously never met.

The pair have their sights set on future blue tree projects already and said they would come back on the long weekend each year to give this tree an extra coat of paint.

To follow the Blue Tree Project, visit the Facebook page or website bluetreeproject.com.au.

Please contact Lifeline on 13 11 14 or visit beyondblue.org.au if you need support.