The Year 9 and 10 students attended the induction at the West Gippsland Arts Centre, where keen participants enjoyed the chance to get to know one another and finalise this year's theme of, Connect to Protect.

The students will volunteer their time and act as ambassadors within their schools, social circles, and the broader community, to promote positive mental health messaging among young people.

They will plan events and develop mental health awareness activities, to help reduce the stigma around mental health, while also learning how to recognise the signs of at-risk behaviours and poorer mental health.

Live4Life is a health promotion charity, using the Live4Life model to support rural and regional communities and their young people. Live4Life delivers evidence-based mental health education in schools and the wider community and helps create local partnerships to lead conversations about mental health.

Baw Baw Shire Mayor Cr Annemarie McCabe said she's proud of her Council’s involvement with Live4Life, which currently operates in 11 rural and regional communities across Victoria, creating positive change and transforming the lives of young people.

“Youth mental health is an ongoing issue not only in our community, but all across the world, and I am proud to lead a Council that is determined to make a difference in this space,” McCabe said.

“Approximately one in four young Australians experience a common mental health problem each year, and it’s important that we provide these people with the help and support they need – Live4Life is one localised program setting out to do just this.”

McCabe said as both a paramedic and a mother, she has seen firsthand the mental health challenges young people are facing.

“These courses are not just an educational experience – they are an investment in the future of our young people and our community,” she said.. 

The official launch for 2024 will take place on Monday, April 22, followed by a full day workshop on Tuesday, April 30, which will see this year's volunteers come together as a group to do further planning for their mental health awareness activities for the year, which they will then embed into their schools’ programming.