23 May 2019

Nicky Stevens' family meet Waikato DHB commissioner

7:33 pm on 23 May 2019

The family of a young man who died while in the care of the Waikato District Health Board have appealed to the DHB's commissioner not to challenge the findings of an inquest into his death.

Jane Stevens and Dave Macpherson.

Nicky Stevens' parents, Jane Stevens and Dave Macpherson. Photo: RNZ

Nicky Stevens was found in the Waikato River three days after he walked out of Waikato Hospital's mental health unit in 2015.

A coroner ruled that the 21-year-old's death was preventable suicide, but the DHB has questioned the findings and called for another coroner to look at the case.

Jane Stevens' son Nicky, 21, killed himself after he was let out on an unsupervised smoke break while he was on suicide watch.

Nicky Stevens Photo: Supplied / Jane Stephens

After meeting with Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern yesterday, his parents met with the DHB's commissioner, Karen Poutasi, today.

His mother, Jane Stevens, said it was a case of the DHB refusing to accept responsibility.

"It's just too awful to contemplate having to go through it all again. I just don't understand how people can be so heartless, that we matter so little," she said.

"Because it appears to me that it's all about money, it's all about not being accountable and people just don't matter."

She had been shocked and disgusted that it is actually the DHB's insurers who seem to be calling the shots.

"That's not about the politics of kindness or looking after people, that is about their bottom dollar.

"For the DHB it is about not accepting any accountability for their own actions."

Once her family had achieve some sort of closure they could focus on helping other families affected by mental health issues, she said.

Ms Stevens said her family was just one of many being affected in this way and she wanted the government to understand the horror of what is happening to families like hers.

Where to get help:

Need to Talk? Free call or text 1737 any time to speak to a trained counsellor, for any reason.

Lifeline: 0800 543 354 or text HELP to 4357

Suicide Crisis Helpline: 0508 828 865 / 0508 TAUTOKO (24/7). This is a service for people who may be thinking about suicide, or those who are concerned about family or friends.

Depression Helpline: 0800 111 757 (24/7) or text 4202

Samaritans: 0800 726 666 (24/7)

Youthline: 0800 376 633 (24/7) or free text 234 (8am-12am), or email talk@youthline.co.nz

What's Up: online chat (3pm-10pm) or 0800 WHATSUP / 0800 9428 787 helpline (12pm-10pm weekdays, 3pm-11pm weekends)

Kidsline (ages 5-18): 0800 543 754 (24/7)

Rural Support Trust Helpline: 0800 787 254

Healthline: 0800 611 116

Rainbow Youth: (09) 376 4155

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