Out of the Blue: Suicide awareness day to showcase support in Mandurah

When Mandurah resident Zach Oakey lost his brother Jacob to suicide, he became a man on a mission.

In a time of inexplicable grief, all that mattered to him was the well-being of his father, partner, daughter and extended family.

"All I did was try to make sure dad was alright. I didn't actually even have a day off work, I just needed to stay busy and get on with it, I couldn't stop," he said.

"It was surreal, it still is. I still couldn't tell you how I feel about it."

It's been almost two years now since Jacob took his own life, and Zach's outlook of helping as many people as he can remains unchanged.

It's an outlook that has led the 24-year-old to organising Out of the Blue Mandurah, a special event dedicated to showcasing the mental health support networks open to residents of the Peel region.

Bunnings Mandurah will donate the paint to be used on Bortolo Park's sacred scarred tree. Photo: Facebook.

Bunnings Mandurah will donate the paint to be used on Bortolo Park's sacred scarred tree. Photo: Facebook.

Inspired by the Blue Tree Project, an initiative aimed at raising awareness for mental well-being, the day will see Bortolo Park's sacred scarred tree painted a coat of bright blue while shining the light on organisations such as Lifeline, Compassionate Friends Mandurah, Shining Hope WA, Halo and more.

The aim of the day is simple: To give as many people dealing with mental illness the support avenues they need.

"At the moment, unless you get right into it, it can be pretty hard to find that support, especially given so many people struggling with mental health might not even be looking for it," Zach said.

"Almost everyone I've talked to has been affected by suicide in some way.

"It makes me stop and think 'well why aren't these people either getting the help they need, or why don't we have more organisations at hand to help them?'

"This day is just about showing people they aren't alone, and that there is help out there."

As well as painting the tree, the day will also feature speeches touching on the effects of suicide and activities for children.

This day is just about showing people they aren't alone, and that there is help out there.

Zach Oakey.

Local businesses have also jumped on board, with Lenny's Family Butcher providing meat while Bunnings have provided the paint for the day.

Zach said the support had been overwhelming.

"I'm just stoked [with the community response]," he said.

"Just to know people out there are getting behind the day and getting behind the message we want to spread, it's been amazing.

"It's also been full on and super busy, but just having everyone's support makes it worth it."

The day will be held at Bortolo Park in Greenfields on Saturday, April 27 from 11am-3pm.

If you or someone you know needs urgent support, call Lifeline on 13 11 14 or Kids Helpline (5 to 25 years) on 1800 55 1800.