5 Jan 2012

Family feel let down by mental health system

10:01 am on 5 January 2012

The family of a mentally ill woman who poured petrol on her own face and set it alight, feels let down by the mental health system.

The woman suffers from schizophrenia and set fire to herself in December last year.

She has been in and out of hospital for the past two decades, but her family says she has had very little follow-up.

The woman's mother, Pat Tanu, says her daughter was an in-patient at Porirua hospital but was neglected when she came out of hospital about two years ago - a time when she was struggling to readjust to life.

"Some of the support persons gave up. They just dropped her and felt they couldn't handle her. I'm sure they got quite a healthy pay packet for what they were doing."

The Mental Health Foundation says the situation is tragic but not isolated and there needs to be better planning over the discharge of patients with mental illness.