Parklea Correctional Centre has recently been overrun by blue trees, and it’s all in the name of mental health.
The Blue Tree Project was started by Western Australian woman Kendall Whyte after her brother Jayden took his own life.
Its mission is to help spark difficult conversations and engage people to speak up when battling mental health issues and spread the message ‘it’s OK not to be OK’. The project also aims to break down the stigma surrounding mental health.
Parklea decided to take up the initiative as part of its mental health strategy to care for its staff.
After humble beginnings painting a tree in the front garden blue, Senior Overseer Guy Blinman’s cabinet shop now resembles Santa’s toy shop after a CSNSW officer asked him to make some blue trees to be placed throughout the prison network.
Six inmates are now playing the role of Santa’s helpers feverishly filling orders for other organisations and donations to charities.
Guy has designed several trees, from six-feet-high versions, to smaller models that can be placed on desks.
At first they were painted blue, in line with other trees created for the project, but one of the inmates working in the cabinet shop decided to put his Indigenous and Australiana designs over them.
The blue trees are available for purchase, with proceeds reinvested to buy materials to make more.
For details, contact Parklea Head of Operational Support Services Michael Pugsley at Michael.Pugsley@mtcbroadspectrum.com