Dr Gabrielle Jenkin is the Director of the Suicide and Mental Health Research Group at Otago University, Wellington.
For the past four years she has been conducting in depth research into four acute adult psychiatric wards around the country, interviewing service users, family members and staff and looking at the actual physical environments and design of the facilities. Dr Jenkin says some of what she saw was shocking.
Last week the Ombudsman released reports into three in-patient mental health units its inspectors visited last year which found two were not fit for purpose with one in Hutt Valley requiring urgent refurbishment.
The reports detailed soiled carpets and walls covered in graffiti, too few toilets, and a lack of space for group activities and dining.