Ren­ters face health­care dilemma

Marlborough Express - - NEWS - ADAM JACOBSON

A men­tal health­care sys­tem dic­tated by geo­graphic bound­aries is putting strain on ren­ters, an Auck­land clinic pa­tient says.

Auck­land District Health Board’s ( ADHB) four men­tal health cen­tres are di­vided into four zones, each cov­er­ing a por­tion of Auck­land cen­tral’s pop­u­la­tion.

Es­tab­lished in the late 1970s, the pur­pose was to pro­vide clin­i­cal ser­vices to the sur­round­ing com­mu­nity and there­fore, closer to clients’ homes.

How­ever, some say the for­mat is out­dated and neg­a­tively im­pacts ren­ters, who are fac­ing ris­ing rents and un­cer­tain leases.

ADHB Tay­lor Cen­tre pa­tient and Life­line phone coun­sel­lor Ruth Amato said an un­ex­pected move or evic­tion could re­sult in ther­apy set­backs, re­turns to wait­ing lists or changes in ther­a­pists.

Par­tic­u­lar stress was placed on the un­em­ployed and those on a low in­come, as they could not be picky when choos­ing a new flat and had to take what­ever was avail­able out of des­per­a­tion, she said.

‘‘You just take what you can get, even if it’s out of the area. You just take it be­cause you need a roof over your head.’’

It was not un­com­mon for pa­tients to lie about their liv­ing ar­range­ments so they could con­tinue care at their cur­rent clinic and not face the stress of hav­ing to trans­fer, she said.

‘‘It’s so hard be­cause you have to be hon­est with your psy­chol­o­gist, and when you need things like the cri­sis as­sess­ment teams, they need your ad­dress in case they have to come and get you or call the police.’’

Amato had ex­pe­ri­enced trou­bles with these zones when her land­lord sud­denly de­cided to sell her rental in 2014.

At the time, she was in care with the St Lukes com­mu­nity men­tal health cen­tre, where she had been ap­pointed a psy­chol­o­gist and had started a two-year ther­apy pro­gramme called Bal­ance, an ini­tia­tive to help those di­ag­nosed with bor­der­line per­son­al­ity dis­or­der.

The only place she could se­cure was an apart­ment in the city, which meant she was no longer zoned for the St Lukes fa­cil­ity and had to trans­fer to the Tay­lor Cen­tre, she said.

‘‘I lost the psy­chol­o­gist I had just started see­ing, and the ther­apy pro­gramme. I had to wait an­other three months to see an­other psy­chol­o­gist at the Tay­lor Cen­tre.

‘‘It was re­ally desta­bil­is­ing at the time,’’ she said.

ADHB di­rec­tor of men­tal health and ad­dic­tions Anna Schofield said com­mu­nity men­tal health teams were work­ing to re­duce psy­chol­o­gist wait times.

When some­one changed area, clinic teams un­der­went a han­dover process to en­sure they re­ceived con­sis­tency in their treat­ment, she said.

Univer­sity of Auck­land men­tal health nurs­ing lec­turer An­thony O’Brien said chang­ing ther­a­pist was a dis­tress­ing event, as the re­la­tion­ship be­tween them and an in­di­vid­ual was cru­cial to­wards re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion.

How­ever, a good ther­a­pist would help to fa­cil­i­tate an easy tran­si­tion once the change was likely, she said. ‘‘They would spend time ex­plor­ing the per­son’s emo­tional re­sponses to the end of the re­la­tion­ship, and help the per­son ex­plore and re­hearse cop­ing strate­gies.’’

ADAM JACOBSON/STUFF

Ruth Amato says her ex­pe­ri­ence of hav­ing to move house while un­der men­tal health care was dis­tress­ing.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from New Zealand

© PressReader. All rights reserved.