Barrier Breakers Folds

A GENERAL meeting of members of Gippsland mental health advocacy group, Barrier Breakers Inc. (Monday, July 19) voted to place the not-for-profit agency into liquidation.

The association’s board had recommended this course of action as the agency was considered insolvent as it could not meet its creditor’s demands.

Barrier Breakers has provided free advocacy services to people with a mental illness in Gippsland since its formation in 2006.

Founder and long-serving director, Derek Amos, said he was deeply saddened by the decision, but accepted the association had no choice but to close its doors.

“The association had pleaded with governments for funding over the years, but little support had been provided,” he said.

“It is a tragedy that two of the region’s major mental health NFP agencies have been allowed to wind-up their services within the same week.”

The other agency, Within Australia, went into voluntary liquidation about two weeks ago.

Mr Amos said that the association’s board had taken steps to transfer its clients to another agency in order to protect their consumers interests.

“The last thing a person suffering from depression needs to know is that their needs are no longer being looked after,” he said.

“We have gone to great lengths to ensure that their interests are protected and that every possible endeavour will be made to gain a favourable decision for them.

“Our deep concern is for our long-term creditors, who have stood by us over the years.

“We are truly sorry that inaction by governments will mean that they too will pay a penalty for that loyalty.”

Mr Amos said that the region’s loss of now two pioneering mental health agencies will deal a serious blow to many families in Gippsland.

“Perhaps we should be excused into thinking that the relatively recent Royal Commission into

Victoria’s mental health system was going to improve people’s access to good mental health outcomes,” he said.

“We believe Barrier Breakers made a valuable submission to the Commission and we thought the state government’s response to its findings by accepting all the recommendations was very heartening.

“However, it leaves us with a sour taste in our mouths, for the region to be now be faced with the complete loss of two advocacy agencies, who had a tremendous record of providing help to many thousands of Gippslanders.”