Delivering mental health education and training to youth and adults incites passion in Nicola Grayson.
As the school nurse manager for the Wimmera and South West region, Mrs Grayson has delivered well-over 30 Youth and Teen Mental Health First Aid courses to around 1600 young people since 2017 and earned recognition as a Master Instructor by Mental Health First Aid Australia.
"With each course, I increase my experience and we've delivered that to so many people in the community," she said.
"We also have a course for adults who live a work with young person and coaches, police officers, teachers and parents have all taken part.
"The bonus of two courses is that you're helping young people recognise if a friend is developing mental health illness or if they're in crisis and how to go to a responsible adult for help. And for adults to recognise mental health problems in kids or to be one of those responsible people young people go to."
The Mental Health First Aid courses are run through Live4Life, rural and regional suicide prevention program which was founded in the Macedon Ranges over 10 years ago and commenced two pilot programs in Glenelg Shire and Benalla four years ago.
"The programs increase mental health awareness in the whole community and over time we will have more and more people who are speaking same language and know where to get support," Mrs Grayson said.
"Our feedback has been really positive. The main feedback we've received was that it made young people and adults more confident with helping someone in the early stages of their mental health problems."
Live4Life program branched out to Southern Grampians Shire and other local government ares across the state in 2020 and Mrs Grayson will work with the new teams to strengthen a community's response to mental health.
"I can now help support other facilitators who will come on board in the new communities."
Have you signed up to The Standard's daily newsletter and breaking news emails? You can register below and make sure you are up to date with everything that's happening in the south-west.