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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.

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