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Gippsland’s mental health advocacy, Barrier Breakers, has called on both the state and federal governments to combine efforts to
urgently address what it calls a “drug scourge”, which is destroying the lives of the region’s youth.

Derek Amos, Chairman of Barrier Breakers, said that recent mental health funding announcements by both the Victorian and Federal governments’ should now provide for a “triple C” approach to tackle the aftermath of alcohol and drug abuse.

Mr. Amos said “triple C’ stood for
cooperative, combined and concentrated. All three elements are vitally important if we are to take advantage of the increase in funding and the renewed will expressed by both governments to seriously address mental illness.

“There is possibly no better way to demonstrate these promises for change than to apply a “triple C” to the region’s drug problem and its total lack of facilities for timely treatment including detoxification and rehabilitation”, Mr. Amos said.

“There is no alcohol and drug detoxification and rehabilitation facility in all of Gippsland. Nor is there any Youth Prevention and Recovery Care Service (Y-PARC).”










Mr. Amos said that YPARK’s provide 24 hour treatment and support for young people between the ages of 16-25. “They provide vital care for people, who no longer need hospital treatment for mental illness, while also reducing pressure on hospital beds by providing early intervention care and an alternative to hospital admission.”

Mr. Amos said that it was a dreadful shame that the Kennett government closed the region’s sole alcohol and drug detox and rehab unit when it closed the Hobson Park hospital in Traralgon.

“Likewise, the region missed-out on an opportunity to have a YPARK when the state government announced it plans to develop them in Dandenong, Frankston and Bendigo in 2013.”

“Just imagine what a difference it will make to saving so many young lives from a lifetime of alcohol or drug induced early psychosis, or even worse – death”. Mr. Amos said that around 75% of all severe mental illnesses develop before age 25.

Mr. Amos said Barrier Breakers believes that both facilities, a YPARK and an alcohol and drug detox and rehab unit should be developed in Central Gippsland as soon as possible.

“With both the federal and state governments’ now coming-out with new mental health policy and funding initiatives, surely there has to be a “triple C” effort to address this regions drug problem”, Mr. Amos said.

“What about the federal government using some of the $300 million it has allocated for addressing the drug problem to build an alcohol and drug detox and rehab unit and the state government undertaking to build a YPARK?”, Mr. Amos asked.

As a first step, Barrier Breakers is writing to all Gippsland MP’s to ask for their support for this cooperative, combined and concentrated initiative to provide these much needed
facilities” Mr. Amos concluded.

The Barrier Breakers Mental Health News RSS Newsletter.

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2016 Calendar – Photographs from Asia

The Barrier Breakers Calendar is due to be on sale in the next few weeks. Head out around town and look for the Barrier Breakers signs on the streets of Maffra, Traralgon, Sale and Wonthaggi to get yourself a copy of this beautiful calendar. Every month is a work of art.

Calendars will be $15 each with all proceeds going to Barrier Breakers Inc.

2015 China  Nikon 222




photography by Lance Hunt

2015 China  Nikon 341
2015 China  Nikon 733

Mental Health Week 2015

Mental Health Week 2015

In 2015, Mental Health Week will run from Sunday 4th to Saturday 10th October. World Mental Health Day is marked every year on the same date: 10th of October.

Mental Health Week aims to activate, educate and engage Victorians about mental health through a week of interactive events across the state including an official launch, community festivals, art exhibitions, music, theatre and seminars.

From its beginnings in 1985, the week has grown to encompass hundreds of events and a multitude of individuals, community groups and service providers throughout the state.

Much of the effort of running Mental Health Week comes from dedicated volunteers committed  to promoting mental wellbeing, furthering knowledge about mental health and eliminating the stigma surrounding mental illness.






Barrier Breakers asks for you to stand up with them to help those who can not stand up for themselves. Every donation lets the people at Barrier Breakers continue to pull those people out who have fallen through the gaps in the system and make sure they don’t fall back in.

All donations are Tax deductible and through Paypal you can be sure it’s secure. You can also make the choice to donate monthly through Paypal with their subscription service.

Is there a mental health first aid officer at your workplace?

With one in five working Australians experiencing a mental health problem in any given year, it’s likely one of your worker’s productivity is being disrupted by poor mental health.

However, given mental illnesses often develop slowly and that we spend so much of our time at work, the workplace is a place where the signs and symptoms of a developing mental health problem can often be first noticed.

Most workplaces have a first aider officer, it’s time the same is done for mental health.

Mental Health First Aid Australia is excited to have now launched an eLearning MHFA Course for White Collar Workplaces as an alternative to our 12-hour Standard MHFA Course. This eLearning Course is for workplaces who find it difficult to release their staff for 12 hours of training. A Blended learning option (eLearning plus half-day face-to-face training) is due to be launched in just a few weeks time.

Check out


Demonstration Presentation

Men and Mental Health

An estimated, 1 in every 8 men will deal with depression and 1 in every 5 men will experience anxiety at some stage of their lives.

The statistics say that Women are more likely to suffer with depression and anxiety in their lives, however this may just be because Men are less likely to openly discuss their issues particularly things like depression, anxiety and stress.

Suicide deaths in Australia are estimated at 2,200 every year with  80% of all suicides by men. Suicide is the leading cause of death for men under the age of 44, with 1,726 deaths by self harm in 2011.

It’s important to remember that depression and anxiety are illnesses, not weaknesses, and effective treatments are available.

Take action against Depression and anxiety – discover how you can find help;





Men and Mental Wellbeing

Disability Support Pension Medical Appeals Fact-sheet

Have you applied for a Disability support pension for your self or someone you care for?

Was it Rejected on medical grounds?

You have tsupport pension imghe right to appeal

For further information and to discover your options -Click Here- to read the medical appeals fact sheet or find it on our Fact-Sheets page.

For more information about your rights, get forms and self-help information visit Victoria’s welfare rights center

CafeSmart Fundraising with Coffee

CafeSmartHelp raise money for your community just by having a cuppa. If you are a cafe head to the link here and sign up, its easy. Don’t forget to let us know if you sign up by using or contact form.

On the 7th of August we are asking cafe’s and coffee shops to donate just $1 from every coffee or tea sold on the day to help raise money for their community.

If you are a coffee drinker, go grab a cuppa and tell your favourite cafe about CafeSmart.



THANK YOU on behalf of all of us at BarrierBreakers and SreetSmart Australia

CLAUDIA’S CAFE in George street Morwell

Riding For Mental Health 2015

780 kms in 7 days is the quest of some veteran cyclists from Sale, who are determined to raise community awareness of the need for governments’ to allocate more resources to mental health.

The Sale veterans, Lance Hunt, Guusta Westra, Robert Larsen and Amanda Jackson are all experienced long distance cyclists. Between them they’ve tackled epic rides in Russia, Vietnam, Europe and the Australian Outback.

Mental Health Ride 2015a

To be launched by the Mayor of Sale, Cr. Carolyn Crossley, the ride will commence in Sale on Tuesday 17 March.

All of Gippsland’s state and federal politicians will be invited to participate in the ride to accompany other people who will be joining the ride during its various stages and who are also committed to improved mental health outcomes.

The Gippsland circuit will include the towns of Bairnsdale, Lakes Entrance, Nowa Nowa, Orbost, Yarram, Welshpool, Foster, Leongatha, Korumburra, Koo Wee Rup, Pakenham, Nar Nar Goon, Drouin, Warragul, Moe, Morwell, Traralgon, Heyfield, and Maffra,

Lance Hunt is a tireless advocate for better mental health outcomes. He is also the convenor of the Wellington Chapter of Gippsland’s mental health advocacy charity, Barrier Breakers.

Lance said, “Mental health is a subject that we tend not to speak about much in the community, the illness can lead to disastrous consequences for many families, particularly in areas where services are difficult to access.”

“Additionally, we know mental illness costs businesses millions of dollars a year in lost time.
“Barrier Breakers is a great organisation and it is continuing to lobby for better services and housing for people with a mental illness in the Gippsland region”.
“Given that one in every 5 people (20%) will have a mental illness in any one year, we all need to do much, much more to get the governments attention. We surely cannot ignore the pressing needs of so many people,”

While this ride will be raising money for the efforts of Barrier Breakers, we are also aiming to shine a bright light on the problem and to let sufferers know that they are not alone.” Lance concluded.
Cheques can be sent to PO Box 39, Maffra, Victoria, 3860, made payable to Lance Hunt (reference on back of cheque to Mental Health Ride).

Barrier Breakers Inc. is a tax endorsed Deductible Gift Recipient (DGR) and all donations of $2.00 or more are tax deductible. A tax deductible receipt will be issued.

For further information – contact Lance Hunt on 0417544663