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MEDIA RELEASE - Youth Live4Life wins VicHealth award

7 December 2018

Youth Live4Life together with the Live4Life communities of Macedon Ranges Shire, Glenelg Shire and Benalla Rural City have been recognized at a state level for their innovative health promotion efforts, receiving a 2018 VicHealth Award.

The ground breaking Live4Life initiative received the state health promotion award in the category of ‘Improving mental wellbeing’, noting the initiative’s aim to ensure young people, teachers, parents and the wider community are better informed and are proactive in identifying the signs and symptoms of an emerging mental health issue before a crisis occurs.

The VicHealth Awards are the state’s highest accolade for health promotion, recognising the impact of initiatives across Victoria in improving the health and wellbeing of Victorians.

“We are thrilled at receiving this award” said Chair of Youth Live4Life Sarah Mahon.

“It is a great validation of the hard work of rural communities to improve youth mental health and reduce suicide. I would like to thank and congratulate the communities we are working with and their commitment to young people.

“I would also like to acknowledge and credit the other finalists.”

The Live4Life initiative commenced in 2009 in response to a reported increase in anxiety, depression, self-harm and suicide amongst young people in the rural communities of the Macedon Ranges. The Live4Life model focuses on a whole of community approach to mental health education and suicide prevention in order to build resilient young people and communities.

Since its implementation over 8000 young people and 1000 adults have received mental health education in their rural communities.

In the Glenelg Shire, more than 600 secondary school students and more than 100 teachers, parents and community members have been trained in teen mental health first aid.

Glenelg Shire Mayor Cr Anita Rank said the statistics spoke for themselves.

“Glenelg Shire has been participating in this valuable initiative for two years and it is extremely important that we continue to do so,” she said.

“As a result of Live4Life Glenelg, an staggering 50 per cent of our total student population aged 10 – 19 years have been trained in teen mental health first aid, which is an incredible result in such a short amount of time.

“Not only does this ensure that important conversations about youth mental health are being held, it also helps to break down the negative stigma attached to mental health on a broader community level.”

For further information on Youth Live4Life Inc, please visit the VicHealth’s finalist profile.

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