$20mil for Tairāwhiti mental health and additions unit

By Te Kuru o te Marama Dewes

A new mental health and addiction unit will be built at Hauora Tairāwhiti Gisborne Hospital, with a government commitment of up to $20mil in funding under Budget 2019.

Currently, there is no residential drug treatment facility in Te Tairāwhiti.

Portfolio Manager of Mental Health and Addictions at Hauora Tairāwhiti, Owen Lloyd says, “I'm wary that this is just a beginning, it's not the end.  If we look at our families many of them are afflicted by depression.”

The DHB's eight-bed facility, Te Whare Awhiora, is not fit for purpose- particularly the seclusion rooms and outdoor areas.

Owen Lloyd says, “You've seen the room some of our relations have to stay in, that's not right for a human.  But we should look to our ancestors, perhaps there is a pathway there for us.”

Minister of Health David Clark says, “Putting mental health and addiction on one site is innovative and it's exciting that it's going to be designed alongside the groups that'll be using it, alongside those with lived experience, Māori.”

Hauora Tairāwhiti CE Jim Green says, “{It's] just what we need here in Tairāwhiti and it'll also be able to encompass that whole range of mental health services, drug and alcohol services and we've got many of our whānau who are located out of district...we want to bring them home.”

In addition, within the primary mental health package, $62mil has been allocated to kaupapa Māori services.

Clark says, “Some of these services are already available in our communities.  We know that there is good evidence gathering around different ways of supporting people with mental health needs, including kaupapa Māori services.”

Hauora Tairāwhiti will also receive a 5.2% increase in its annual budget, taking it up to over $170mil.