Indigo Festival for Healthy Living

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In January 2020, the Indigo Shire region was profoundly affected by bushfires.

Despite there being minimal direct fire, the impact of weeks of smoke coverage and the anxiety this produced for children and young people in the region has led to a significant increase in mental health concerns.

Unfortunately due to the imminent arrival of COVID-19 in February 2020, the opportunity to address these concerns at the time was missed.

The Festival for Healthy Living (FHL) aims to promote positive mental health and wellbeing for the children, their families and the school community, so we're bringing it to a number of Indigo schools over the months of June to September 2022.

it is expected that through the program over 200 Indigo children and numerous teachers, parents and community members will benefit.

The following schools will participate in the festival:

  • Chiltern Primary School
  • St Joseph's Chiltern
  • Rutherglen Primary School
  • St Mary's Rutherglen
  • Rutherglen High School
  • Wahgunyah Primary School

Mid-Festival Update

The Festival for Healthy Living is now at its midpoint with participating students working hard to prepare for the final festival performance in late September.

Approximately 130 students and teachers attended the launch in June and enjoyed a range of arts activities, circus skills, Cartooning, music, film/story-telling and craft activities. The day was a huge success and created a great degree of excitement and expectation for the school based workshops.

The schools have chosen from the available activities of, cartooning, circus skills, dance (Hip Hop), aboriginal culture workshops and film/story-telling. In addition, some have taken the opportunity to participate in a choir, practicing in lunchtimes for a final festival performance.

One of the first items on the agenda was to decide on a unique name for the term-long event with the participating schools renaming the festival, the Creative Lands Festival.

Upon completion, students will have taken part in over 120 hour-long workshops to prepare for the final event.
Significant mental health and wellbeing improvements have already been noted in participants, not just in the development of new skills but also in resilience, personal confidence and greater cooperation.

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Festival of Healthy Living


What is the Festival for Healthy Living?

FHL has supported Victorian communities for the past 23 years. It has been successfully implemented by 38 communities, involving over 200 schools and assisting over 18,000 young people.

The festival is an innovative mental health promotion initiative developed by Royal Children’s Hospital (RCH) Mental Health and aims to promote positive mental health and wellbeing among children, young people and their families by building the capacity of schools to implement arts-based mental health promotion activities.

The program has been designed through a strengths based, mental health promoting lens, underpinned by an evidence based model combining arts, health and education.

Workshops will be conducted by engaged local artists and performers, who will be trained to promote mental health awareness to children and youth. Together they will co-create a community wellbeing event, building powerful connections, strengthening resilience and celebrating achievement.

Children and their families will be enabled to creatively express themselves and:

  • Build self-esteem, confidence, resilience and ability to develop solutions to life’s challenges;
  • Enhance mental health literacy and tackle trauma, stigma and discrimination;
  • Promote inclusion and social cohesion and foster a sense of connection and belonging.
  • Bring communities together - building powerful connections, strengthening resilience and celebrating achievement.


*Photo credit: Leonie Van Eyk


This program is proudly brought to you in partnership with:

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