North Shore mental health unit death – yet another time where the family is ignored and disaster strikes
North Shore’s Willcox family “have every right to be angry and upset that they were not listened to by North Shore DHB, resulting in the death of their son,” says the family of Nicky Stevens, a Waikato DHB patient whose family was also ignored, also leading to the death of their loved one, in 2015.
Nicky Stevens’ mother Jane Stevens said her “heart sank when she saw in the news this morning that yet another death had resulted from poor care in a DHB mental health unit.”
“Our heart goes out to the Willcox family. We know what they are going through at the moment, with the grief and the despair and the wondering whether you did enough to prevent your son’s death.”
“Our message to them is that it is not their fault, they did everything they could to look after their son, and now they need to look out for each other, and to welcome their friends who will be wanting to support them.”
“Despite the glacial pace that official systems work at, the family’s anger at the fact their advice was ignored will eventually have a place to be heard,” she said.
Nicky’s father Dave Macpherson said that it was “clear that New Zealand’s mental health services still have the attitude that they know best, and that families and whanau are just annoying amateurs that don’t need to be listened to.”
“We are fearful that the Government’s Mental Health Inquiry, although it identified all these problems, won’t lead to the significant cultural change that is required to turn around this country’s shocking suicide and mental health statistic.”
“The mental health profession has shown how little it has learnt from past disasters like our son’s death, and how much it wants to keep things trucking along just how they have been for years.”
“We will be making these points when we meet PM Jacinda Ardern on Wednesday,” he said.
“After all, 668 suicides in one year, many of which were avoidable, has got to count towards change in at least the same way as the awful massacre of 51 people in Christchurch did.”