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Latrobe Health Assembly is bringing award-winning youth mental health and suicide program, Live4Life, to Latrobe Valley secondary schools. Dedicated to investing in young people’s mental health and reducing youth suicide, the inclusion of the Latrobe Valley means that the Live4Life model will be implemented across most of Gippsland.

Live4Life is designed specifically for rural and regional communities – delivering Teen and accredited Youth Mental Health First Aid training to equip young people with the tools to lead as mental health ambassadors. By creating conversations both within the school community and more broadly with partners and community groups, the program reduces stigma associated with mental health while promoting peer support.

“The Live4Life model has been proven to create more highly-networked communities, which enhance resilience during hard times and help to support young people living in regional and rural areas. We know that when we work together, we can change lives,” says Live4Life CEO, Bernard Galbally.

The first Live4Life partnership group meeting was held at St Paul’s Anglican Grammar in Traralgon in late February, where government and independent schools alike showed enthusiasm for implementing the project in their campuses.

“Projects such as Live4Life are so important to our region and provide vital assistance for schools and young people navigating an increasingly complex society.  The grouping of key support services, which promote positive adolescent mental and emotional health outcomes, makes a real difference in supporting our young people to become resilient, robust and active participants in their developmental journey.  At Lavalla, we look forward to proactively partnering with other local and regional organisations to better prepare and empower our students for the challenges that they face” says Principal Lavalla Catholic College, Ryan Greer.

Seventy five percent of people with mental ill health have their first episode during adolescence. Suicide is the leading cause of death in 15-24-year-olds in Australia, and the suicide rate is 40% higher in rural and regional communities.