Bulldozing the stigma

Bulldozing mental health stigma

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The bright blue D6 dozer is going to be hard to miss on the road, and its owners hope it starts important conversations about mental health.

The bright blue D6 dozer is going to be hard to miss on the road, and its owners hope it starts important conversations about mental health.

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A novel idea to spray paint a Cat bulldozer bright blue is more than just a whim - it aims to raise mental health awareness.

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A CATERPILLAR D6 dozer custom painted an electric blue rather than the iconic 'Caterpillar yellow' is enough to turn heads in its own right, but there is a powerful personal story behind the eye-catching machine.

Gavin Rogers, GR Dirtworx, has teamed up with heavy machinery auctioneers Ritchie Brothers to bring the dozer from Brisbane back to Victoria with a view to raising awareness for mental health.

Mr Rogers said he had decided to try and help combat mental health problems after watching his brother struggle with depression.

"We wanted to give our dozer a voice and become a conversation starter in our industry," he said.

Mr Rogers teamed up with Ritchie Brothers and Natik, who organised a float to bring the dozer to Brisbane, where it then had a spray job courtesy of B&C Spraytech.

On its way back the blue beast will make pit stops at Newcastle and Albury in NSW before heading back to home base.

Once back in work, Mr Rogers plans to donate $2 per engine hour to mental health charity Beyond Blue.

Mr Rogers said his experience with brother Nigel, who went from happily married, living a typical country life to within a year being in the grips of serious depression meant he wanted to raise awareness in the heavy machinery industry to help others.

"This is where the importance of "starting the conversation" comes from and the real reason behind using this Blue Dozer to clear away any stigma attached," Mr Rogers said.

"It is a simple concept having a chat, but that simple concept is sometimes the hardest part," he said.

In the end Nigel said simple 'normal bloke talk' about football or daily routines was what got him through his dark days and that simple conversations were invaluable.

"Today I'd like to tell people that life can be tough, but it can also be awesome," he said.

Gavin said seeing as so often depression was something invisible the decision had been made to have something you couldn't miss as its symbol - and a bright blue Cat fitted the bill perfectly.

The other businesses involved were more than willing to help out for the worthy cause.

Regional operations manager for Ritchie Bros. Andrew Chapman said his company supported the message.

"Operating heavy equipment can be a lonely job, so if having a blue dozer on-site starts conversations then that's a good thing," Mr Chapman said.

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