More Macedon Ranges young people will be informed, inspired and possibly saved through a youth suicide prevention initiative.

The council developed Live4Life in 2009 as a community-wide response to a reported increase in depression, anxiety, self-harm and suicide in the Ranges, particularly among 13 to 14 year olds.

It has since fielded requests from other local government areas to duplicate the successful program which adopts a holistic approach to increase knowledge, reduce stigma and improve mental health services appropriate for young people.

More than 600 secondary school students gathered in Kyneton last Tuesday to launch this year’s initiative.

Macedon Ranges council and Cobaw Community Health Service joined with Victoria Police to promote the program at Gisborne Secondary College, Braemar College, Kyneton Secondary College, Sunbury and Macedon Ranges Specialist School and Sacred Heart College.

Councillor Bill West, who attended last week’s launch, said the project had many benefits for young people in the region.

“Seeing so many young people come together around such an important issue is truly inspiring,” Cr West says.

“Life 4 Life is a great example of council and the community working together to support young people in our shire.”