Barrier Breakers chapter in Sale

A CHAPTER of Gippsland’s mental health advocacy charity, Barrier Breakers, will be established in Sale.

Barrier Breakers is the only organisation of its type in the region providing systemic and individual advocacy services.

The association lobbies to improve the delivery and effectiveness of mental health care services in Gippsland and provides advice and advocacy assistance to people with mental illnesses and their families and carers.

Barrier Breakers’ work throughout Wellington Shire was recognised last year by the council when it allocated a community grant to Barrier Breakers to help with the delivery of assistance programs to individuals suffering from mental illness.

The association’s profile has also been lifted by Sale’s LG Cycling Group, which promotes and undertakes annual marathon cycle rides throughout Gippsland to raise community awareness of mental illness and to raise funds for Barrier Breakers’ supported accommodation program.

Veteran Sale cyclist Lance Hunt, who leads the group, is also a member of Barrier Breakers and was keen to establish a branch of the association in Sale.

Mr Hunt, who also inspired the publication of a special combination 2013 calendar and Italian recipe book by Barrier Breakers, which he markets by street stalls in his spare time, was astounded by the high level of interest being shown, particularly by young people, in the work being undertaken by Barrier Breakers.

“The clear message that one person in every five will suffer from mental illness and that we must do much more to provide adequate services, is clearly getting through,” he said.

“Additionally, the chronic shortage of supported accommodation for people with a mental illness is becoming increasingly apparent and the Barrier Breakers’ pilot project, to be constructed in Traralgon, is being seen as an exciting solution to meeting the complex needs of the chronically ill.”

Mr Hunt invited all interested in forming a chapter of Barrier Breakers to the launch at a luncheon at Sporting Legends, York St, Sale, tomorrow from 12.30pm.

“We have achieved a lot in the last couple of years in promoting community awareness and supporting the cause of Barrier Breakers,” Mr Hunt said.

“However, we can do much, much more with the help of others.

“If we can capture a fraction of the passion and enthusiasm of our young people that I have witnessed lately, then this part of Gippsland will be well served with outstanding advocates.”