IN JUNE this year, between COVID-19 lockdowns, Woorayl Golf Club Ladies captain Jo Graeme was golfing at the Yarrawonga Mulwala Golf Club Resort where she first saw their Blue Tree.

The tree had a sign on it which encouraged people to call Lifeline or Beyond Blue if themselves or someone they knew were feeling blue.

“That sparked something inside me, and I’m sure every member would have their own story to share concerning mental health issues,” Jo said.

“With the second year of experiencing long lockdowns in Victoria, this was now an issue that was present in many more lives than we could imagine.”

Once back in Leongatha, while playing golf over several weeks, Jo noticed a large dead tree that would be perfect for a similar project.

“I quietly mentioned it to a few of our women members and they agreed it was a great idea. From that little spark, the conversation grew, and it gained more support than I could ever imagine.

“We had members that heard a whisper of the project immediately volunteer their support. It seemed the project had its own following, even in these strained times,” Jo said.

Working fast to have the tree ready for National Mental Health Month in October, Jo said she sent an email to Mental Health Foundation Australia outlining the project and asking for some guidance.

Chairperson Vasan Srinivasan and vice-chairperson Jim Goodin were happy to help Jo and her team with the project, offering their full support.

“Mental Health Foundation Australia has kindly assisted us by supplying a sign for our tree along with a sign for our clubhouse,” Jo said.

Haymes Paint Shop Leongatha generously donated all the required blue paint.

“The general committee and members of the Woorayl Golf Club should also be thanked for the way they threw themselves into this project, fully and unselfishly, where their only thought was to give,” Jo said.