Program aims to turn the tide
The Live4Life program, which has been successfully run in Benalla since its launch last year, is gaining national recognition.
Rockstar Jimmy Barnes and TV personality Brian Nankervis will be guest speakers at the official statewide launch of Live4Life at Melbourne’s RACV Club on Friday, September 21.
Suicide is the leading cause of death among young people in Australia, accounting for an extraordinary one third of all deaths.
Live4Life was started as these figures skew even higher in regional areas.
The program is a direct, personal means of bringing about change in regional communities.
This community-grown, evidence-based, rural youth mental health initiative uses a hands-on, grass roots, collective impact approach.
It was initiated by Pauline Neil, coordinator of youth development in the Macedon Ranges, after two young men took their lives, and another survived a serious attempt in the one weekend.
‘‘Something had to shift,’’ Ms Neil said.
‘‘It felt imperative that our young people understood what the supports are and that our community learns the skills to better support and understand young people.’’
With more than eight years developing the model in the Macedon Ranges, and a year trailing it in the rural city of Benalla and the Shire of Glenelg, Youth Live4Life is ready to launch Live4Life across Victoria.
‘‘Live4Life is not just about delivering mental health education in schools,’’ Ms Neil said.
‘‘It is about mental health education for the whole community.
‘‘It is a whole community response to youth mental health and suicide prevention.
‘‘We can’t always rely on services to offer support to our young people when they need it and where they need it.
‘‘It just doesn’t happen in rural areas. Every adult in contact with young people needs to know what they can do to turn the tide on this issue.
‘‘Every teacher, coach, canteen helper and parent can be equipped with the skills to recognise signs, open a conversation, listen and provide support to young people who might be struggling, but who could otherwise slip under the radar.’’
A recent evaluation by Orygen The National Centre of Excellence In Youth Mental Health found that the Live4Life model aligns with national and state policy, has a positive impact on the communities it is been run in and was of great benefit to the young people who participated.
For more information on Live4Life Benalla, visit www.live4life.org.au/benalla
To book tickets to the official Launch in Melbourne, visit www.trybooking.com/XBVG
The Benalla Live4Life Crew: Nathan Toliday, Maggie Powell, Holly Morrison and Taryn Schulz.