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Mental Health First Aid Course in Sale

Media Release – September 12th 2017

Changes to be made at LRH


The Mental Health Complaints Commission (Complaints Commission) is recommending changes in the treatment of patients who are involuntarily confined in the psychiatric ward of the Latrobe Regional Hospital (LRH).


In announcing this today, Derek Amos, Chairman of Barrier Breakers Inc., Gippsland’s mental health advocacy, said Barrier Breakers had made an official complaint to the Mental Health Commission over a denial of natural justice afforded to one of their clients who was appealing an Involuntary Treatment Order (ITO).


The Deputy Commissioner of the Complaints Commission has now advised Mr. Amos that LRH has been asked to adhere to the Mental Health Act 2014 to ensure that patients have a “Nominated Person” to protect their interests and that an “advanced statement” be provided to that person before any hearing to determine involuntary treatment or otherwise.


Mr. Amos said the implementation of this provision by LRH would vastly improve transparency in such cases and provide for greater protection of a patients’ rights by enabling a “Nominated Person” to have access to information and the opportunity to more properly advocate on the patients behalf.


“Nobody should be denied natural justice before any court or tribunal in the land and this rule applies to anyone, whether they be mentally ill or not”.


“Just because a person’s mental illness may render them incapable from clearly expressing themselves before a tribunal, does not mean in itself that the person should be judged to be incapable of adhering to a voluntary mental health plan”.


Mr. Amos said this was particularly relevant to those situations where authorities are demanding that a patient be placed on an ITO and where the patient is clearly capable of attending his/her GP and following a voluntary plan.


“Everyone should be entitled to advocacy representation in such circumstances to enable a tribunal to be in possession of all the facts before involuntary orders are decided”, Mr. Amos concluded.


For further information, please contact Derek Amos on 0428397706.

Media Release – September 10th 2017

Tackling Suicide Head On

A major farmers lobby group and a Gippsland base mental health advocacy have joined forces to tackle suicide risk in rural areas.


With a program, especially designed to allow people to be more aware of the first signs of depression and anxiety and other forms of mental illness, Aussie Farmers Foundation and Barrier Breakers Inc. will be launching the first of four Mental Health First Aid course in Sale in October.


Derek Amos, Chairman of Barrier Breakers, said that Gippsland had one of the highest rates of suicide in the nation and that precursors to suicide – such as depression and anxiety – need to be addressed as a matter of some urgency.


He said, “Suicide is a major health concern, with suicide deaths averaging 2,687 over a five year period, and remains the leading cause of death for all Australians between the ages of 15 and 44”.


“2012 data released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics last month clearly shows that suicide rates in Central Gippsland exceed both the state and national average, with suicide rates for young Australians being the highest in 10 years.”


He said, “Given that major depression alone accounts for 50% of all suicide deaths, we need to recognise symptoms earlier and encourage sufferers to seek help before major depression sets in”.


Mr. Amos said, “With limited job opportunities, Gippsland had been hit hard of late with the closure and threatened closure of major industries, the Murray Goulbourn fiasco and a roller-coaster ride with milk prices and the continuing down-turn of the timber industry”.


In an endeavour to address possible depression caused by these issues, Aussie Farmers Foundation has provided Barrier Breakers with a grant to run a series of mental health first aid courses. The aim is to create a better understanding of mental illness by the first responders and/or other professionals called out to emergencies involving mental breakdowns, more sensitivity in such dealings and a greater understanding of mental illness by families, friends and carers.


Mr. Amos said, “The program is not only designed to address the key area of mental health for farming communities, but also their economic wellbeing”. He said this can be adversely affected by mental health issues, particularly when those issues are not addressed or are treated with a lack of understanding and sensitivity.


Sale-based Clinical Psychologist, Sarah Schluter, will conduct the courses, which will commence on Wednesday, 4 October in the Bond Street Events Centre, Sale. Bookings for the courses can be made at the Sale office of Barrier Breakers, 55 Raymond Street – Phone 51446002 or Barrier Breakers Traralgon office on 51744588.


Mr. Amos also took the opportunity to invite people to volunteer for Barrier Breakers at their Sale and Traralgon offices.


“Barrier Breakers is a community-based organisation – an incorporated association and tax endorsed charity. Our advocacy services are provided free of any charge and our funding comes from the community we serve”, Mr. Amos said.


“We provide free training for our volunteers and work with them in a friendly environment, which is richly rewarding, particularly when you see the smiles on the faces of those people who have been helped by our program”, Mr. Amos concluded.


For further information, please contact Derek Amos on 0428397706.

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





Cost: Free


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



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

Barrier Breakers Inc.





Barrier Breakers Inc. has operated in the Gippsland area of Victoria since 2006, providing the only advocacy service in the region for people with mental health issues. As well as our office in Traralgon, we have chapters in Sale and Wonthaggi, and are currently working toward opening an office in Sale.

At the systemic level, Barrier Breakers Inc. advocates for greater government recognition of, and funding for, the needs of those with mental health problems. At a personal level, we assist clients who are having issues with government departments, legal problems, or challenges with private sector organizations such as banks or businesses.

Recognizing that the de-institutionalization of mental health care some years ago has left a gaping hole in the provision of supported, affordable accommodation for those with mental health issues, we have recently established accommodation units in Traralgon, and hope in the future to also do so in Sale and Wonthaggi.

Barrier Breakers operates mostly with volunteers, and thus provides good value for money for its donors.

To offer your support to Barrier Breakers Inc, click the Donate button on the right or follow this link to view our GiveMatcher campaign.

Lifeline Gippsland ‘Gone Fishing’

Life line Gippsland are offering a free six week Educational Support Program for men tackling Twitter-Lifeline-Gone-Fishing-Program-900x450the Blues.








Lifeline Gippsland presents Gone Fishing

Lifeline Gippsland presents Gone Fishing

Lifeline Gippsland presents Gone Fishing

Lifeline Gippsland presents Gone Fishing

Lifeline Gippsland presents Gone Fishing

Lifeline Gippsland presents Gone Fishing

Lifeline Gippsland presents Gone Fishing

Lifeline Gippsland presents Gone Fishing

Lifeline Gippsland presents Gone Fishing

2016 Calendars

Thank you to everyone who purchased our calendars this year, we would like to remind everyone that we still have some available. If you would like to purchase one you can come into our office in Traralgon, or contact us through facebook, email or telephone.2015 China  Nikon 222Just one of the stunning photographs inside this year’s calendar