More than 130 Year 8 Benalla students were part of the official launch of the Benalla Live4Life program at the Drill Hall Community Activity Centre on March 26.
Live4Life is a mental health education and youth suicide prevention program led by the council and delivered in partnership with FCJ College, Benalla P-12 College, Benalla Flexible Learning Centre, Victoria Police, North East Tracks LLEN, Benalla Health, Tomorrow Today Foundation, North East Support and Action for Youth Inc. (NESAY), North East Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service (NECAMHS), Central Hume Primary Care Partnership and Youth Live4Life Inc.
As part of the Live4Life program, Year 8 and Year 11 students, teachers and parents will be trained in identifying when young people may need mental health support and how to refer it.
Mayor Don Firth said this program was critically important in adding layers of protection for young people in relation to their mental health.
‘‘The strength of the Live4Life program is in the community working with schools and committing to building resilience and capacity in our young people,’’ Cr Firth said.
‘‘It is an evidence-based program. It works and it is vitally important.
‘‘This program, which is being led by young people, gives me great hope for the future resilience and safety of our young people.’’
The Live4Life program was piloted in Benalla last year with support from Youth Live4Life Inc. and the Myer Foundation.
It is continuing with ongoing support from community contributions, Youth Live4Life Inc and the Murray Primary Health Network.
Now the program has been launched, all Year 8 and 11 students in Benalla will complete a training course in Teen Mental Health First Aid.
The Benalla Live4Life project is being led by a group of Year 9 and 10 students from FCJ College and Benalla P-12, known as the Benalla Live4Life Youth Crew.
As well as formal training, the Live4Life program provides creative ways for young people to talk about mental health and to reduce the stigma associated with it.
In 2017, the Benalla Live4Life Youth Crew conducted an art prize where students responded to a mental health theme through painting, drawing, multimedia and photography, with prizes from North East Tracks LLEN and Delatite Steel.
Parents of young people, or adults who work closely with young people, are encouraged to attend a free Youth Mental Health First Aid in April.
Any young person currently in years 9 or 10 is able to join the Benalla Live4Life Youth Crew.
●For more information, phone the council on 57602600. Crew application forms are available at www.live4life.org.au/benalla