Everyone deserves to feel empowered and supported on Melbourne’s public transport network.

That’s why Metro Trains is proud to be part of the Hidden Disabilities Sunflower network to support passengers with an invisible disability and make the invisible, visible.

Sunflower lanyards, wristbands and badges are available from twelve stations on the Metro Trains network. Passengers can also look for Metro Trains staff wearing a Sunflower supporter badge, which shows they are familiar with the program.

The Sunflower is a globally recognised symbol for invisible disabilities, which can include autism, low vision and blindness, chronic pain conditions, musculoskeletal conditions like arthritis, acquired brain injury, deafness, mental health conditions and dementia.

Some people with invisible disabilities choose to wear the sunflower lanyard to discreetly identify that they may need a little more time, support, or assistance.

Sandee Facy, Hidden Disabilities Sunflower ANZ Director of Business Development said:

“We are thrilled to work with Metro to bring the Sunflower to train travellers across Melbourne and ensure that public transport is accessible and inclusive for all.”

Train Driver Evan Whyatt was diagnosed with AuADHD (autism and ADHD) two years ago and often wears his sunflower lanyard when he is out and about on the network.

Evan said:

“I want others with hidden disabilities to feel represented and aware they can possibly achieve the things they want without having to ‘mask’ their disability to others.”

He explained that travelling on public transport can be stressful for some people – there can be sensory, interactive, and other challenges to overcome for someone with an invisible disability. Evan said that he was hugely supportive of Metro joining the Hidden Disabilities Sunflower network. He says wearing his lanyard feels like having a “shield” when travelling on public transport.

Metro Trains' Chief Operating Officer Aline Frantzen said:

“At Metro, we are dedicated to helping all passengers, including those with an invisible disability, to ensure everyone feels safe and included on our network.”

Evan said that the best way you can assist someone wearing a lanyard is to check if they need assistance and are comfortable interacting with you, as sometimes the interaction itself can be a source of anxiety. Evan said that listening to what the person is saying, reading the signals they are giving you and being compassionate throughout the interaction are all important.

Passengers can find more information on the Metro Trains website.

Become a Sunflower Member in five easy steps

  1. Log in to your business account or if you do not have one, register here.
  2. Choose and subscribe to the Sunflower Membership that works best for your business today (available in the memberships section of our online shop)
  3. Purchase Sunflower products to support your colleagues and customers with hidden disabilities
  4. Train your entire workforce using our Sunflower training videos*
  5. Launch and promote your Sunflower Membership to your community as well as the global Sunflower network*

*access restricted dependent on Sunflower Membership level