Program grows wings and saves lives

Live4Life, the only youth mental health and suicide prevention model designed specifically for rural communities, has received outstanding validation in an independent two-year evaluation.
The evaluation of Live4Life in Benalla and Glenelg Shires found that 75 per cent of young people expected the skills they learned to be useful throughout their lives and 65 per cent found the skills immediately useful, while 82 per cent of adults felt ‘far more confident to support a young person with mental health needs’ having completed the program.
Live4Life began in the Macedon Ranges in 2010, and since its inception close to 20 per cent of the Macedon Ranges population (9260 young people, teachers, parents and community members) have been trained in teen and youth mental health education.
Due to its success, Macedon Ranges Shire Council established Youth Live4Life Limited, a not-for-profit health promotion organisation, to deliver Live4Life into other rural communities.
Cr Janet Pearce, mayor of the Macedon Ranges, said the council was proud of the work over the years that had built such a strong youth mental health program.
“This independent report is proof that it achieves everything we had hoped and even more by bringing young people, families, community groups, schools and the council together providing knowledge for life,” Cr Pearce said.
Bernard Galbally, CEO of Youth Live4Life, praised the leadership and foresight that Macedon Ranges Shire Council had demonstrated around youth mental health and suicide prevention.
“This evaluation powerfully demonstrates the impact and effectiveness of the Live4Life model,” Mr Galbally said.
“It shows clear proof of concept, transferability of the model and further strengthens the case for the value of a ‘whole of community’ response to youth mental health and suicide prevention for rural communities.”
In 2017, Benalla Rural City and Glenelg Shire were selected as trial communities for the expansion of Live4Life. Live4Life now operates in six rural communities across Victoria; Macedon Ranges, Benalla, Glenelg, Southern Grampians, Moira and Baw Baw shires.
Live4Life has been recognised with several awards and commendations including VicHealth’s Improving Mental Wellbeing Award and the Youth Affairs Council of Victoria’s Rural Award for Most Innovative Rural Youth Program in 2018.
It was also awarded the national LiFE Award in Community Development (Organisation) at the 2017 National Suicide Prevention Conference for its groundbreaking work.

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