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Mental health facility marks 20th anniversary

April 2006

Community mental health facility marks 20th anniversary

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New Zealand has a way to go in improving tolerance and acceptance of mental health in our communities, Wigram MP Jim Anderton said today.

Mr Anderton was speaking at a function to mark the Sarona Community Trust's 20th anniversary. The centre was founded by Reiner and Margaret Kuprecht and was awarded a Richmond Fellowship award for excellence in mental health in 1998.

"During Schizophrenia Awareness Week earlier this year I launched a study of carers in mental health. It showed there were heavy costs involved in caring, and the heaviest costs fall on the ill. Many costs fall on families, Mr Anderton said.

"Virtually every New Zealand family will be touched in some way by some form of mental illness at some point in their lives. Since we can all be affected, we all have a role to play in caring and contributing. We owe an acknowledgement to those who work in centres such as this.

"One chief finding in the research about caring for mental health patients was that alienation, isolation and stigma are commonplace, and there are examples of it right here in Christchurch. Many don't want halfway houses for mental health patients or criminals in their communities.

"But along with our rights and privileges as citizens, we have responsibilities, and this centre has been an excellent example in reversing those attitudes," he said.

ENDS

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