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Archive for June 2014


We live in a region with a desperate shortage of secure, affordable and supported long-term accommodation for people with life-long (chronic) mental illness. With a population of around 250,000, the vast and diverse region of Gippsland spreads over 44,000 square km.

Given that one in every five people (around 20% of the population) will experience some form of mental illness in their lives, the illness will impact on around 50,000 Gippslanders.

Many people in our region will experience chronic mental illness, requiring on-going clinical support and safe, secure and supported accommodation. In the absence of such support, their recovery to wellness is at risk and it increases a too-soon return to acute care. Many people are actually homeless, many are living in sub-standard and/or inappropriate dwellings, boarding houses and other shared accommodation, caravans and/or “couch-surfing”.

In an attempt to address this problem, Barrier Breakers developed a long-term accommodation and support model, which we believe is best able to meet these needs. Following widespread consultation and the negotiation of a care-model partnership with key stakeholders, we successfully lobbied the state government for support and funding for a 10-unit pilot project in Traralgon. The key stakeholders are:

Barrier Breakers Inc. – Project coordinator and provider of advocacy services to tenants

Eastcoast Housing Association – owner of the units and tenant manager

Mind Australia – provider of home-based outreach services to the tenants

Latrobe Regional Hospital Community Mental Health Services – provider of on-going clinical services

The units will provide stable, affordable and long-term accommodation, which is managed with the mental health of the tenants in the forefront.

We are pleased to announce that our commitment to raise $150,000 towards the capital cost of the units has been honoured – thanks to a very generous community and we expect to house tenants later this year. In the meanwhile, we are lobbying the state government for funding to roll-out this model of accommodation throughout Gippsland.

To this end, we are seeking a pre-election commitment from both major parties for $10 million over the next four years to build units in ten towns throughout the region.

We know this model of supported accommodation works – it is the only long-term solution to the accommodation needs of so many Gippslanders, who presently so desperately need a secure roof over their heads and the clinical and outreach support to keep them well.

It is why we are continuing with our fund-raising and public awareness campaigns.

Please join our fight for the proper care and accommodation of our most vulnerable citizens – the mentally ill. Let us all make this election year the opportunity to goad our politicians into supportive action.

Please sign our petition – YOUR SUPPORT can make a BIG DIFFERENCE  

Download Pdf  Here:  PETITION to Legislative Assembly

If you are able to assist Barrier Breakers in this important work by collecting additional signatures, we would be very grateful for your assistance.

SP AusNet Supports Barrier Breakers

Electricity supply company, SP AusNet, continue to recognise the work of Gippsland’s mental health advocacy association and charity, Barrier Breakers Inc., this week with a $4,500 donation.

Each year SP Ausnet encourages its employees to become involved in community work by offering a $500 grant for its employee’s charity of choice if they undertake 20 hours or more of community work in the year.

LanceCheque 2014 Sml

For a record 4th year in a row, well-known and respected Sale resident, Lance Hunt, has donated his $500 grant to Barrier Breakers through his work as convenor of the Wellington Chapter of Barrier Breakers.

However there was even better news for this mental health advocacy as SP AusNet also donated a further $4000 to Barrier Breakers.

Jim Haylock, Regional Customer and Community Manager in Gippsland, said he was delighted to provide financial support to such a worthy organisation as Barrier Breakers.

“This association is doing a marvellous job in lifting the profile of mental health in our community and advocating for those impacted by mental illness,” Mr Haylock said. “Barrier Breakers has also developed a supported accommodation program for people with long-term mental illness and SP AusNet is pleased to be able to assist this important program,” he said.

In accepting the donations, Chief Executive Officer of Barrier Breakers, Susan Lloyd, said her association welcomed this support and she praised the work of Lance Hunt.

Ms. Lloyd said Lance became involved in Barrier Breakers around 4 years ago and has since organised a number of fund-raising activities, including marathon bike rides throughout the region, social fund-raisers and street stalls and his efforts have raised in excess of $70,000 to date. “This man is simply unstoppable – he continually demonstrates the energy and tenacity to enthuse others and in the process, raise large amounts of money for the cause, no matter sometimes the state of his own health and well-being”.

“In any one year, more than 50,000 Gippslanders will be impacted by mental illness and we have a long way to go to address the needs of many of our citizens, who fall between the cracks”. Ms. Lloyd concluded by again thanking AusNet and lance Hunt for their generous support.

For further information – contact Derek Amos on 0428397706

Join our lobby campaign for supported accomodation

Who wants to join our lobby campaign in Gippsland aimed at the forthcoming state elections? Barrier Breakers will be specifically targeting all candidates from the major parties to gain support for our supported accommodation program. Despite Gippsland’s population growing by more than 60,000 since the government closed the only psychiatric hospital in the region, there are less than 200 beds available for people with a mental illness than there was then. This translates to an approximate 62% reduction in beds for a 40% increase in population. What a wanton neglect of our most vulnerable people! Meanwhile, 85% of all homeless people have a mental illness and more than 30% of all prisoners in Victorian jails have a mental illness. This demonstrates that we desperately need appropriate supported accommodation for people with long-term (chronic) mental illness – not homelessness and/or prison. If you are moved to help, please contact us for details of the campaign.

Derek Amos
Barrier Breakers Inc