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Media Release – Wednesday 31st May

Barrier Breakers Generates Discussion about Gambling Issues and Mental Health


Barrier Breakers in Traralgon are inviting community members to join their new Gambling Advocacy Program (GAP) to generate a discussion on gambling issues and mental health. The program is open to anyone who would like to make a positive change to their own lives, the lives of their families and people close to them, or the wider community regarding the effect of gambling on mental health.


The program is supported by funding from Latrobe City Trust and Trinity Families.


Group sessions will run between July and September 2017 in alternating Tuesday afternoon and Thursday evening sessions at the Kath Teychenne Centre in Traralgon. A light lunch or supper will be provided. Interested participants may register on Eventbrite or just turn up on the day. There is no cost to attend.


Advocates will guide the sessions and allow participants to share their experiences so that areas of change and gaps in the support system can be identified.  Barrier Breakers can then offer to support or facilitate participants in running initiatives brought forward in the group sessions by providing advocacy on an individual level or a systemic level. The advocates will also provide any information or referral to gambling support organisations.


Participants are encouraged to attend multiple sessions to follow up on any ideas and actions identified in previous sessions.


No identifying information will be taken from participants during the sessions unless the participants choose to provide it. Barrier Breakers will be a non-judgemental soundboard for all those who attend.


What: Gambling Advocacy Program (GAP) – Discussion Group for Advocacy in Gambling Issues and Mental Health


Where: Kath Teychenne Centre, 11-13 Breed Street, Traralgon



Tuesdays: 12 – 2pm Thursdays: 6 – 8pm
11th July 2017 20th July 2017
25th July 2017 3rd August 2017
8th August 2017 17th August 2017
22nd August 2017 31st August 2017
5th September 14th September
19th September 2017 28th September

* Edit 28/06/2017: Thursday evening program has been reinstated. Sessions will be held on alternating Tuesday afternoons and Thursday evenings.

Cost: Free


Contact:  Linda or Elise on (03) 5174 4588 or email at for more information.


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2017 People’s Choice Community Lottery

Barrier Breakers Inc. is delighted to be part of the 2017 People’s Choice Community Lottery. For just $2 a ticket you can win some fabulous prizes.

To support Barrier Breakers by buying tickets in the lottery, go to:

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Silence For a Voice Challenge Update

Our fundraiser, The Silence For  A Voice Challenge, is now finished. Sadly, in spite of all the publicity we put out about this event, and in spite of considerable interest being voiced by many people, nobody actually signed up as a contestant. That means, of course, that no prizes will be awarded.

This is very disappointing, and we hope that our next fundraiser will attract not just interest but participation. Keep watching to find out what it might be. social google plus social facebook social pinterest social
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Cunningham Dax Exhibition

Cunningham Dax Art Exhibition


We are delighted to be able to have part of the Cunningham Dax Collection coming to Traralgon for our Art – A Way Out Of The Darkness exhibition.

Because of his world wide reputation as a leading psychiatrist and mental health reformer, in the early 1950’s Dr Eric Cunningham Dax was head-hunted by the Bolte Government to reform Victoria’s mental health system.

He was appointed as founding Chairman of the then Mental Hygiene Authority (later to be known as the Mental Health Authority) in 1952.

During his service to Victoria, Dax introduced many far-reaching reforms, resulting in the Authority becoming known as the leading training ground for psychiatry and mental health work for all the English speaking populations of the south west pacific region.

He had a burning zeal to expand psychiatric services, the teaching of psychiatry and the education of Doctors in the psychiatric principles and this led him to be the founder of the Chair of Psychiatry at Melbourne University.

Teaming up with Edward Adamson Cunningham Dax pioneered art therapy as part of mainstream psychiatric treatment.

He soon began a collection of works produced by psychiatric patients, which grew to become the largest collection of its type in the world. The collection currently includes over 15,000 pieces and is located at the Dax Centre in the grounds of Melbourne University.

Because of the connection with the old Hobson’s Park Psychiatric Hospital, it is very appropriate that a small part of this collection is now to be shown in Traralgon. The Art- A Way Out Of The Darkness exhibition will be held at St James’ Church in Grey St, Traralgon from Thursday 17th November till Sunday 20th November. Opening night on Thursday 17th will run from 7pm till 9pm, and on Friday 18th and Saturday 19th the exhibition will be open from 10am till 4pm. On Sunday 20th the exhibition will be open from 1pm till 4pm, and attendees will be invited to take part in a collaborative art project.

Following from the exhibition, Barrier Breakers will be offering an art course for people affected by mental illness. The course will run through February and March 2017, and application forms will be available at the exhibition.

Barrier Breakers is extremely grateful to both the Keith Chenhall Charitable Trust and the Latrobe City Arts Trust for the funding to make this exhibition and the follow-up art course possible, and to the Dax Centre for making part of the collection available, and to St James’ Church for making the church premises available for both the exhibition and the course.


New Office in Sale

We are delighted to announce that Barrier Breakers Inc. now has a new office in Sale. This means that our clients from the Sale area and further east will be saved the long journey into Traralgon to access our services.

We have been working toward this for some time, with a few setbacks along the way. Even though we had been offered suitable office space some time ago, we were unable to take up that offer because we lacked both the funding and the staff to make it operational. Now we have several volunteers from the Sale area who are excited to be able to work locally rather than travelling to Traralgon, and have been able to equip the office temporarily whilst we wait for some funding that we hope will allow a proper fit-out.

As I write we are still waiting for the phones to be connected and the computers to arrive, but some of our volunteers are already working out of the office using laptops and mobile phones.

Would People Pay For You To Be Quiet?

The Silence For A Voice Challenge


If they would, why not put their money where your mouth is by entering the Silence For A Voice Challenge.

The concept is simple: Barrier Breakers is a voice for people with mental illness, speaking up for those who are not able to speak up for themselves. We are asking people to help us keep speaking up for those who need it by being silent for a period of time, and seeking sponsors for each ten minutes of silence.

You can nominate when you are going to be silent. We would like it to be during Mental Health Week, 9th – 16th October, but if that week doesn’t suit, feel free to nominate another time. Just be sure to allow enough time for your sponsorship money to come in before the Challenge ends on 30th November 2016. You can nominate how long you are going to be silent, but it should be in ten minute multiples, because your sponsors will be sponsoring each ten-minute unit. So, for example, if you are being silent for an hour, your sponsors will be paying for six units. Of course, your time of silence should be when you would normally be talking, not when you would be asleep or otherwise unable to speak, and you will need to appoint a “silence buddy” to assure your sponsors that you have actually been silent for that time.

You can sign up either as a Challenger – just to have fun and raise money for Barrier Breakers – or as a Contestant, to have a chance of winning some great prizes if you raise the most money. The Challenge is being run through our GiveMatcher account, so you don’t have to worry about collecting money, just check to see that your sponsors have paid in on your page. This also means that you can boost your chances by asking your employer or local businesses to match your sponsorship pledges up to an amount they nominate.

If you don’t want to do the Challenge yourself, you might like to nominate one of your friends, and offer to be his/her first sponsor.

Alternatively, if you would pay money to have a public figure be quiet for a while, you might like to sponsor one of our Celebrity Challengers. So far Federal M.P. Darren Chester, State M.P. Russell Northe, and Latrobe City Councillor Sandy Kam have all agreed to be Celebrity Challengers. We will be putting their details up on the web site soon.

For more details, go here.



Rural Partnership Dialogues

The Department of Health and Human Services have advised us that they are holding inaugural Rural Consumer and Carer Partnership Dialogues in Morwell and Bairnsdale in June.

Bairnsdale – 10am-3pm Monday 20 June 2016 at The Riversleigh, 1 Nicholson Street Bairnsdale
Morwell – 10am-3pm Tuesday 21 June 2016 at Lifeline Gippsland, 2 Fleming Street Morwell

The aim of these forums is to give a voice to local mental health consumers, carers, and people with lived experience to have an ongoing dialogue with the Department of Health and Human Services. The events will be co-chaired by the Department’s Consumer, Carer and National Relations team, and the consumer and carer peak bodies, VMIAC and Tandem.

If you are interested in attending and would like to accompany Barrier Breakers or have someone from Barrier Breakers assist you please call us on 03 5174 4588.

To register or make enquiries with Consumer Carer & National Relations Unit, DHHS directly please contact Indigo Daya 03 9096 1395 or Amber Scanlon 03 9096 7040.

To download a flyer about the event, click here.

New CEO For Barrier Breakers

An ordained Minister has taken the top job at Barrier Breakers, Gippsland’s mental health advocacy charity.

This announcement was made today by Derek Amos, Chairman of the association, who warmly welcomed
Dr. Lynn Fowler as the Charity’s new Chief Executive Officer

Mr. Amos said Dr. Fowler comes from a background in Christian ministry, where she had been leading a ministry organization for the past ten years.

“Having had considerable involvement with people with mental illness over the years, she is enthusiastic about this new role with the mental health sector”, Mr. Amos said.

Based in Traralgon, Barrier Breakers Inc. provides free advocacy services for people with mental illness, who are in crisis. The association also advocates for mental health at a systemic level, seeking to raise community awareness of mental health issues and the needs of those with mental illness, and to encourage government at all levels to allocate a greater part of the available funding to mental health issues and accommodation for people with a mental illness.

Dr. Fowler said that homelessness was fast becoming a major issue in the region, with a desperate shortage of affordable accommodation, appropriate to the needs of people with a mental illness.

“Families, who suffer this problem need accommodation that is affordable, safe and secure, long-term and accompanied by support services”.

“Barrier Breakers initiated the establishment of the new supportive accommodation complex in Traralgon because of this desperate need,” Dr. Fowler said.

The public fund-raising campaign that Barrier Breakers ran for the project raised more than $150,000 towards its establishment costs and the organisation successfully lobbied the state government for a major share of the funding. They now plan to lobby for the project to be replicated throughout the region with Sale and Wonthaggi as priority towns.

Mr. Amos and Dr. Fowler said they look forward to working together in an exciting and challenging year ahead.

Web and Tele-Counselling

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Australia has a wide range of services available online and over the phone for emergency assistance or someone to talk to when you are feeling lost. These online and Tele-counselors are there to listen and offer support for many of life’s issues, big or small.

Open: 7 days a week, 8pm until 4am AEDST

Kids Help Line (ages 5-25)
Open: 7 days a week

eHeadspace (ages 12-25)
Open: 7 days

Open: 7 days

Beyond Blue
Open: 7 days, 4pm-10pm EST

Suicide Call-Back Service
Open: Mon-Fri and Sun (2.30pm-7pm) and Sat (10.30am-3pm EST)
Book an appointment

Butterfly Foundation for Eating Disorders
Open: Monday to Friday, 8am-9am AEST

National Sexual Assault, and Domestic Family Violence Foundation
Open: 7 days, 24 hours

(family, romantic, and interpersonal relationships)
Website: 7 days, 3pm-8.30pm

Gambling Help Online
Open: 7 days, 24 hours