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Archive for March 2013

Barrier Breakers scores again

“Sale’s irrepressible charity dynamo has done it again”; this statement was made by the CEO of Gippsland’s mental health advocates, Barrier Breakers, when told of yet another charity award given this week to veteran cyclist, Lance Hunt.

Mr. Hunt had been awarded $500 by his employer, SP AusNet, for devoting more than 20 hours of his free time to charity.

The company runs a program to encourage its workforce to become involved in community work and Mr. Hunt and a number of other employees of the company willingly took-up the challenge and the charities of their choice were rewarded.

Being long concerned to improve mental health services in the Gippsland region, Lance Hunt sought-out Barrier Breakers around 3 years ago and has since organised a number of fund-raising activities, including marathon bike rides throughout the region, and his efforts have raised in excess of $50,000 to date.

Barrier Breakers CEO, Derek Amos, said Lance Hunt is the dynamo that every charity dreams of.

He said all community organisations would have a fair share of “go-getters”, but people with the energy and tenacity to continually raise large amounts of money are few and far between.

“Lance is such a person”. He is a tremendous asset to have as a member of our association”; this fact has been acknowledged by our Board, which recently appointed Lance as a Director of the association”.

Mr. Hunt was responsible for the recent formation of the Wellington Chapter of Barrier Breakers and he is currently finalising arrangements for the 2013 Gippsland Marathon ride for mental health, which is scheduled to leave Sale on 8 April.

Mr. Amos said the SP AusNet donation would be directed towards the Barrier Breakers supported accommodation project with its pilot scheduled to commence operations later this year.

“This project is the first of its kind in our region”. “Its aim is to provide secure and affordable, long-term accommodation for people with chronic mental illness accompanied by both clinical support and an on-going day-care program”.

For further information – contact Derek Amos on 0428397706

Youth Mental Illness – Critical Need For Support

There is a critical need in Gippsland for a 24 hour residential and treatment facility for young people who are suffering from drug and alcohol abuse and/or induced early psychosis.

In a letter to all coalition government MP’s in Gippsland, the region’s mental health advocate, Barrier Breakers, has called for the establishment of a Youth Prevention and Recovery Care Service, known as a Y-PARC.

Y-PARC’s provide 24 hour residential, treatment and support to young people aged 16-25. They are particularly designed as an alternative to inpatient care and to assist in transitioning young people from hospital care back into their communities.

A Y-PARK was opened in Bendigo last week to serve young people in the Bendigo Loddon Mallee region at a cost of around $10 million.

Barrier Breakers CEO, Derek Amos has told Gippsland MP’s that “While not denying a need for this service in Bendigo, we submit that the underlying factors, which resulted in the government’s decision to locate the Bendigo Y-PARC, are arguably just as relevant and strong and probably more in need of redress, right here in Gippsland”.

Mr. Amos said Gippsland’s need was evidenced by the government’s extra funding for Latrobe Regional Hospital (LRH) to extend facilities for alcohol and drug effected young people who present at the hospital’s Accident and Emergency Department (A&E).

He said, “To really properly address this problem, this “first point of contact” at the A&E must be followed-up with the treatment and support that a Y-PARC can offer. This region has no other alternative residential and treatment option for our young people.”

“There is an alarming increase in alcohol and drug induced psychosis in our society.”

“More relaxed liquor licensing laws extended trading hours and a concentration of night-clubs and dance club venues have all provided easier access to party drugs and alcohol, which is seriously impacting on our young people with increasing incidents of youth Psychosis.”

“This is no more evident than in those larger towns in our region where there is a concentration of liquor outlets, which particularly target young people. For example, Traralgon has now the dubious reputation of being the “night-club capital” of Gippsland.”

“It is of little wonder why it is considered necessary to expand the LRH A&E to address the problem”,Mr. Amos concluded.”

Barrier Breakers has offered to meet the targeted MP’s, either individually in their electorate offices or collectively at Parliament House to further lobby for a Y-PARC for Gippsland.

For further information – contact Derek Amos on 0428397706