New mental health facility in Christchurch seeks investors

Logan Church

Christchurch, July 15, 2018

An alternative mental health treatment facility that focuses on holistic approach is being proposed in Christchurch.

Current public facilities, such as Hillmorton Hospital, copped criticism from nurses who work there for being old, poorly designed, and overcrowded.

A comprehensive upgrade programme by the Canterbury District Health Board is in the pipeline.

New $25 million facility

But Christchurch mental health advocate Marcelle Lunam, whose brother had a hard time in public mental health units, said that she wanted to create a new $25 million mental health facility that alleviates pressure on the current system.

I thought, Why is it so bad? she said

Its not just the facilities. There was also a lot of holes in my brothers care.

This included an incident in which her brother escaped a psychiatric facility and was only found by an ambulance days later.

When her brother arrived back to the facility the family was not notified.

Business Plan complete

I started doing some research and I thought I am going to go and do something about it.

Ms Lunam said a business plan for the facility, known as Tmanako, had been completed and she was hoping to raise $200,000 so the project could progress.

A Pledge Me campaign was launched this week to contribute to this fund.

The proposed facility would focus on holistic mental health care, and incorporate gardens as well as nutrition, counselling, therapy and other services into the complex.

Scandinavian Model

Ms Lunam said it was loosely based on care models used in Scandinavia.

We aim to be an alternative model and be a part of a solution.

Ms Lunam said that she hoped the facility could be an alternative to what was offered through the Canterbury DHB.

Greer ODonnell, the projects Development Manager, said even though the facility would be wrapped into a charitable trust, she hoped the project would attract investors.

The idea is that the building and business is a financially viable model in itself….we are creating a model that is sustainable, she said.

Income would come from patients, business tenancies and office spaces.

Public funding and grants would also be sourced.

Ms ODonnell said $25 million would cover the cost of land, the building itself and setting up the service.

She hoped that she had her eye on several pieces of land, and although she would not go into details, she said she would be interested in building the facility in Christchurchs residential red zone.

If the initial $200,000 funding is sourced, the pair hoped the facility could be open in two years.

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Photo Caption:

  1. Marcelle Lunam and Greer ODonnell (Photo for RNZ by Logan Church)
  2. Design of the proposed facility (Photo Supplied to RNZ)

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