AN $871,163 investment from the Federal Government will allow Youth Live4Life to continue its program for improving mental health and reducing suicide.

On April 27, Minister for Health Greg Hunt and Liberal candidate for McEwen Richard Welch met at Woodend to announce the grant to fund a three-year expansion of Live4Lifes’ programs as part of its National Suicide Prevention and Leadership Support grant program.

The funding announcement will be followed through regardless of the outcome of the federal election on May 21.

Mr Welch acknowledged the mental health crisis in the area and believes the community hasn’t seen the full extent of how the last two years has affected young people.

“I made a commitment that I would prioritise support for youth mental health, and today in Woodend with Minister for Health Greg Hunt I was so very pleased for the announcement of a $895,000 grant to fund a three-year expansion of Live4Life’s youth suicide prevention programs,” he said.

“Live4Life have an incredible community education and prevention programme that draws together key local organisations to build a ‘whole of community’ solution.

“But more than that; they provide young people with the tools they need to both identify signs of trouble amongst their peers and the clarity of exactly what to do and who to speak with if they suspect someone may be at risk.  

“My congratulations to Live4Life for the years of work that have been invested in this vital work and to Macedon Ranges Shire Council for their long and considerable support.”

The Live4Life model was developed in 2010 by the Macedon Ranges Shire Council as a community-wide response to an increase in youth mental health issues within the shire.

Due to the success of the Macedon Ranges program, in 2015 Youth Live4Life (Inc). was formed to facilitate the Live4Life model beyond the Macedon Ranges Shire.

The program now includes nine rural communities in Victoria and more than twenty other rural communities nationally that have expressed interest in implementing the model.

Macedon Ranges Shire Mayor Jennifer Anderson said the program has proven to be a great success in raising awareness about youth mental health and suicide prevention.

“We are extremely proud of the Live4Life program, and the role council played in its initial implementation. The announcement of additional funding for Youth Live4Life is extremely pleasing as it means the fundamental work the program provides in establishing these communities and educating our young people and their support networks about youth mental health can continue and on a much bigger scale,” she said.

“We’d like to thank the Federal Coalition Government for their contribution to the program in what is a priority area for our community and others alike.”

People wanting to find out more about the program can visit www.mrsc.vic.gov.au/live4life.

Anyone experiencing distress can seek immediate help by contacting Lifeline on 13 11 14, Kids Helpline 0n 1800 55 1800 or via the digital mental health gateway Head to Health, www.headtohealth.gov.au.

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