MEDIA STATEMENT: Nicky Steven’s whanau grieve for family of yet another victim of poor mental health services


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.”

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“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.”


  1. Following the ‘NZ Dental Association’s press release there was a weak response from the Health Minister David Clark “that he will consider the issue”, – so that was very sad for many elderly now and there will probably never be any more heard from David Clark of this again.

    Of all the current NZ political Parties operating in NZ it has been NZ First that has been the only party to hold strong support for retirees health and financial support, so look for a resurgence in support for NZ First after Australian election has showed this is where the Labour Party in NZ has the weakest most volatile weakness.

    National may now give more support to retirees upon seeing the weakness in labour policies to gain ground here.

    NZ First is the political champion for retires health/financial policies as it has been stated that many suicides among the elderly retirees have been contributed to the poor health and financial support policies offered for the retirees today.

    As the salvation Army has stated in the press many times, It is now time to look after our elders, as they are very venerable now as a strong part of life among our whanau, but as we have now often seen cases where many elders lose their homes and are forced to live in substandard living with little food and comfort so we need to take care of all those in our whanau.

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