In 2017 Youth Live4Life Inc. have engaged Orygen the Centre for Excellence in Youth Mental Health to undertake an evaluation of the model in Benalla and Glenelg Shires. This report will be made available in early 2018.
Live4Life Macedon Ranges have undertaken annual independent evaluations of the Live4Life model since 2011.
The evaluations have been undertaken by Dr Krystal Bowers, Clinical Psychologist, DPsych, MAPS.
Findings have included:
Year 8 students have self-reported:
· increased mental health knowledge and dispelling of myths
· increased intention to seek help from a GP or counsellor should they develop a mental health issue
· increased knowledge of strategies beneficial to maintaining good mental health.
The local school/community partnership group have reported:
· increased contact between school staff and community organisations
· increased number of school staff who felt they now knew someone they could contact directly at a local community organisation
· increased understanding of the importance of partnerships to current work practices
· increased number of young people connecting with mental health services.
The ‘Crew’ have self-reported:
· improved leadership skills
· increased confidence to seek help for mental health issues
· increased feelings of self-worth and sense of accomplishment
· increased ability to influence and share knowledge with younger students
· increased ability to ask a friend if they need help.
The parents/teachers and broader community reported:
· An increase in confidence to talk about mental health with young people
· A reduction in fear to approach, talk to and help a young person with mental health problems or suicidal ideation.
Year 11 students (research trial):
· One thousand year 10 and 11 students were trained in a pilot study conducted by Mental Health First Aid Australia. Results showed statistically significant improvements in their mental health literacy, confidence in providing Mental Health First Aid to a peer and decreased stigmatising attitudes.
It’s also worth noting that 10% of the Macedon Ranges residents are recipients of mental health education (4,500 adults and young people), through Live4Life.
Having over 10% of residents trained in mental health education has greatly assisted in building local community resilience. This has been witnessed first-hand in a number of emergency bushfire situations that have impacted the Macedon Ranges in recent years.
Not one student who has received mental health education from the Life4Life initiative has suicided.