Youth Live4Life is bringing together rural and regional communities to improve youth mental health
Youth mental health is a major issue in rural and regional communities, but new funding is helping Live4Life bring its tailored mental health support model to more towns across Victoria.
Content warning: this story contains discussion of mental health and suicide.
After losing two young people to suicide within a matter of days in 2008, Macedon Ranges Shire youth worker Pauline Neil decided to do something about youth mental health in the community. Years later, her work lives on as Youth Live4Life, Australia’s only mental health education and youth suicide prevention model designed specifically for rural and regional communities.
The Youth Live4Life program is led by young people, and supports youth, parents and carers, schools, and communities to help them lead positive mental health conversations and reduce the barriers that prevent young people from seeking help.
Youth Live4Life CEO, Bernard Galbally, says the key to the organisation’s success is working with local communities and their resources as well as tackling the issues of mental health and youth suicide on multiple levels.
“It’s not ‘fly-in, fly-out',” Galbally says. “It’s about building community capacity, it’s about embedding it at a local level.”
“We as a community, especially in rural and regional communities where resources are limited, have to work more collaboratively together, share resources, see where the gaps are and see where things can be filled.”