Daylesford College has announced that the innovative Live4Life youth mental health and suicide prevention program will commence in Hepburn Shire in 2024.

Live4Life brings together rural and regional communities to deliver Teen and accredited Youth Mental Health First Aid® training, create local partnerships to lead conversations which reduce stigma around mental health, and also to promote young leaders as Mental Health Ambassadors.

Live4Life is an award-winning prevention model centred on young people themselves. It protects young lives before a crisis occurs.

Daylesford College is proud to take on the role of Lead Agency in implementing this ground breaking, peer-led, evidence-based, community impact model, which spans both suicide prevention and mental health/wellbeing education — the only program of its kind designed specifically for rural and regional areas.

“Today marks an exciting chapter at Daylesford College as we launch the Live4Life program in Hepburn Shire! Our approach to student wellbeing is already cutting edge and Live4Life takes us to another level,” said Steve MacPhail,​ Principal of Daylesford College.

“Our goal is to wipe out the stigma around mental health, teach our young people to recognise when they are struggling, or when a peer is not doing well, smash the barriers that keep them from seeking help, and turn our schools, homes, and communities into havens of mental health wisdom. Let’s build a future where our youth not only survive but thrive, and where mental health is not just a conversation but a way of life.”

75% of people with mental ill health have their first episode during adolescence. Suicide is the leading cause of death in 15-24-year-olds in Australia and the suicide rate is 40% higher in rural and regional communities.

Hepburn joins nine other Victorian communities implementing the Live4Life model, where it has proven its effectiveness in growing mental health awareness and a help-seeking culture. Other Live4Life communities include: Ballarat, Bass Coast/South Gippsland, Baw Baw, Benalla, Central Goldfields, Glenelg, Moira, Southern Grampians and foundation community Macedon Ranges — as well as the first interstate Live4Life community in Break O’Day, Tasmania. There is currently a waitlist of over 20 rural and regional communities throughout Australia.

Hepburn Shire Council Mayor, Cr Brian Hood, said that the Live4Life program will bring real benefits to the region. “Council is pleased to be working with Daylesford College and Central Highlands Rural Health to bring this important program to young people in our Shire. Providing a safe place for them to create connections and foster resilience is key to tackling issues such as suicide and mental health,” he said.

“It is really exciting to be expanding the Live4Life model into Hepburn,” Bernard Galbally, Live4Life CEO, said. “Live4Life is led by young people and involves the whole community. The Live4Life model has been proven to create more highly-networked communities, which enhance resilience during hard times and help to support young people living in regional and rural areas. Youth Live4Life is grateful to Gandel Foundation for philanthropic support to expand this life-changing program to Daylesford College and the Hepburn Shire community.”

Gandel Foundation’s CEO Vedran Drakulic OAM said, “Gandel Foundation is committed to creating a positive and lasting difference and to building the spirit and resilience of communities, especially in rural and regional Victoria. Empowering young people to develop help-seeking strategies and reduce the stigma about mental ill-health is one of the key ways in helping forge this resilience”.

Youth Live4Life will partner with Daylesford College, Hepburn Shire Council and  Central Highlands Rural Health to deliver this award-winning program.

If you or your organisation are interested in further information on how you can support the mental health and wellbeing of young people in Hepburn, please contact Bridget Franc at Daylesford College on