Live4Life to expand in Ballarat schools in 2024

City of Ballarat Mayor, Cr Des Hudson with members of the Live4Life Ballarat Crew and Live4Life staff.

City of Ballarat Mayor, Cr Des Hudson with members of the Live4Life Ballarat Crew and Live4Life staff.

The award-winning Live4Life program - increasing mental health knowledge throughout Ballarat - will continue to grow in 2024.

Returning for its second year, Live4Life is the only mental health education and youth suicide prevention model designed specifically for rural and regional communities.

After first being introduced to Ballarat in 2023, the program saw more than 1200 students across eight schools undertake evidence-based teen mental health education in response to a reported increase from schools and agencies in depression, anxiety, cyber bullying, and self-harm.

In 2024, the program will expand to 10 schools, with an estimated reach of 3500 students in both Year 8 and Year 10 to participate.

The Live4Life Ballarat Partnership Group is comprised of a dedicated collective of secondary schools, health provider networks and community organisations.

City of Ballarat Mayor, Cr Des Hudson said the foundation laid by Live4Life’s inaugural year in Ballarat in 2023 would allow for the wider community to be better informed about mental health.

“We’ve seen the program deliver some fantastic outcomes already in terms of youth mental health, but there is always more work that can be done,” he said.

“This year we will see a new cohort of students and community members participating in the program and it is vital that the understanding of youth mental health continues to grow.

“After such a promising start in 2023, I look forward to seeing what an expanded program can achieve.”

Introducing ‘The Crew’

A new addition to the Live4Life program in 2024 will be the Crew Youth Leadership and Participation Program, more commonly referred to as ‘The Crew’.

The Live4Life Ballarat Crew will be made up of student representatives from Year 9 who undertook teen mental health education last year and will assist in delivering events and driving key Live4Life messages at their school and in the community.

The Crew of about 30 participants were formally inducted in a whole-day training course at the Ballarat Regional Soccer Facility on Wednesday 6 March, where they also settled on a theme for 2024.

The Crew is supported by the Live4Life Ballarat Partnership Group, with participation in the group providing young people with the opportunity to be leaders and to advocate for mental health support and education in an ongoing and empowering way.  

Kherington Aykens, a Ballarat High School student and 2024 Live4Life Crew Mental Health Ambassador, said spreading mental health knowledge was integral.

“It’s an honour to be involved in the Live4Life program in 2024,” she said.

“Having the opportunity to teach and encourage people to learn about mental health is an incredible thing, and knowing I am able to participate in spreading such great knowledge is incredible.” 

The impact of the inaugural year

The roll out of Live4Life in Ballarat in 2023 had a profound impact on youth mental health education in the city.

Eight schools participated in its first year, with 1146 Year 8 students and 100 Year 10 students now trained in teen mental health first aid.

A further 242 school staff and 51 community members were also trained in Youth Mental Health First Aid, with 35 instructors now trained in Youth/Teen Mental First Aid.

A survey of 631 student responses also showed that 81 per cent of students think that mental health education in schools is important and that 73 per cent indicated they are now more able to identify when someone may have a mental health problem.

View the Live4Life Impact Report 2023.