This episode of the long-running series made by and for Kiwis with disabilities focusses on the evolution of mental health care in Aotearoa, specifically in Christchurch. Pākehā settlers 'didn't plan' for mental illness in their fledgling society, and soon the jails were full. Presenter Kate Hirst takes a tour of Sunnyside Hospital, built in 1863, a physical and philosophical embodiment of changing approaches to treating mental illness. She speaks with academic Warwick Brunton and ex-hospital staff and patients about New Zealand's move to community-based care, and visits a residential facility run by Stepping Stone Trust.
At the turn of the twentieth century ... 90 per cent of all patients in a psychiatric hospital were deemed to be incurable. So therefore you try to make the conditions as tolerable and as human as you could, within all those limitations of staffing and money and architecture.– University of Otago Senior Fellow Warwick Brunton, during a tour of Sunnyside Hospital
Long White Cloud Productions
Made with funding from NZ On Air
Section on the history of mental health treatment in New Zealand, Te Ara website
Interactive report on mental health abuse and care in NZ, Stuff website, 2017
Newsroom story on changes in mental health treatment in NZ, October 2017
Article on criticism of Christchurch's Hillmorton Hospital, Stuff, July 2021