Pro­gram aims to turn the tide

Benalla Ensign - - News -

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

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The Be­nalla Live4Life Crew: Nathan Tol­i­day, Mag­gie Pow­ell, Holly Mor­ri­son and Taryn Schulz.

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