29 Jul 2014

Clinic wants to expand Maori unit

7:14 pm on 29 July 2014

The country's largest forensic mental health unit wants to expand its Maori unit because of its success in patient rehabilitation.

Patients at Auckland's Mason Clinic have been referred from mental health services, prisons, and the courts.

The clinic has 106 beds, and more than half the patients are Maori.

Its Maori unit, Tane Whakapiripiri, which opened in 2006, is part of the rehabilitation path and combines a kaupapa Maori approach with its clinical services.

It has a number of programmes which aim to help patients gain a sense of identity and belonging.

Mason Clinic's clinical director, Dr Jeremy Skipworth, said the unit had seen great outcomes and that was why it was proposing to double its size.

He said there was usually a waiting list of people who need or want to go through the Maori unit and says he's in final consultation to look at expanding it into two units.

Dr Skipworth says the proposal is still yet to be ratified.

Mental Health Foundation endorses expansion

The Mental Health Foundation's Maori Spokesperson, Witi Ashby, said the Mason Clinic had always led the way in mental health.

He said it was taking too long for other mainstream organisations to adopt a Maori approach.

Mr Ashby said there were many tangata whenua working in the sector, but he feared they couldn't work effectively if they couldn't work within a Maori framework, with their own people.