By Melissa Sheil
ONE tree in High Wycombe now wears a lovely blue coat to prompt conservations about mental health, thanks to the work of not-for-profit Meerilinga.
In a spin on the iconic Blue Tree Project, the childcare service and advocacy group banded with the community to knit and crochet more than 150 blue squares to dress a tree at the boundary of their centre and Edney Primary school, with more than 50 people contributing in the name of mental health awareness.
Meerilinga administrator Hila Berman said the project was born from wanting to raise awareness and to spark difficult conversations.
“We wanted to encourage people to speak up when battling mental health concerns,” she said.
“Meerilinga’s philosophy talks about celebrating diversity, and our tree is a perfect example of diversity as each square comes from a different person, and looks different from the other squares next to it.
“This is a great way to represent us as a weaving community that is assembled together from a variety of unique and diverse members who stand together strong and look after each other.”
Wool was chosen as an alternative to paint, allowing more people to be involved and avoid using chemicals on a live tree.
Golden thread and golden butterflies were woven through the blue squares, symbolising hope and optimism that comes from opening up about mental health struggles.
Meerilinga operational advisor Pat Hope said those unable to knit or crochet were encouraged to donate wool and said it encourages talking about mental health in a fun way.
“It has also opened up conversations between the children arriving to the school next door and their parents, helping to support younger children to gain an understanding of mental health.”
The not-for-profit has received community requests to cover more trees since unveiling the first one.
“Due to the popularity, we have decided to turn the ‘Blue Tree Yarn Bombing’ project into an ongoing thing,” said Ms Berman.
“We are planning to cover more trees around the City of Kalamunda, and are asking people to create more 15cm by 15cm blue squares.”