Mental health teams

The information below outlines the mental health teams that you may encounter at South Canterbury DHB. In addition we also fund a number of community services.

Kensington Inpatient Unit

Perhaps the most well-known of our services is the Kensington Inpatient Unit. The 14 bed inpatient unit, or ward, is situated at the eastern end of the Kensington facility. A team comprising of Registered Mental Health Nurses, a Social Worker and an Occupational therapist are there to assist with the recovery process for those who are experiencing a severe mental health issue requiring intensive treatment.

Mental Health Brief Intervention Service (MHBIS)

Mental Health Brief Intervention Service (MHBIS) clinicians are registered mental health professionals. An MHBIS clinician can help you with low mood, anxiety, alcohol or substance abuse, and other causes of stress.

There is no charge to see an MHBIS clinician, but you must first get a referral from a GP or practice nurse. You must be over 18 to use the service.

An MHBIS clinician will contact you within a few days of your referral and aim to see you within three weeks. They'll see you at your GP practice, Talbot Park Community Hub or a suitable community venue.

MHBIS clinicians are available throughout South Canterbury, including Twizel, Fairlie, Geraldine, Temuka and Waimate.

Other services:

  • Call or txt 1737 for free counselling support 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
  • For urgent support, call Timaru Mental Health Services on 0800‑277‑997.

Community mental health team

This service is located at the western end of the Kensington facility. The team of health professionals helps people experiencing moderate to severe mental illness in their recovery journey.

This service operates under the CAPA model (Choice and Partnership Approach) which gives people accessing the service more flexibility in their entry to the service. There is also a focus on working more closely with Alcohol and Drug Team under the Co-Existing Problems Programme, ensuring that all issues are addressed in a co-ordinated manner.

One of the major focuses of this team under the Strengths Model of Practice is to do the majority of their work out in the community. This can take place in homes or places such as the park where people feel most comfortable. Health professionals include Registered Mental Health Nurses, Social Workers and Occupational Therapists. There is also the option of people coming into the Kensington Centre if that is preferred or deemed necessary.

A small group of Mental Health Support Workers is part of the team  and they are tasked to support people with practical assistance during this time.

Mental health of older people

This service is based in the Assessment, Treatment and Rehabilitation ward (A,T&R ward) in the clinical services building which is the main part of the hospital. Beds within the ward are available for patients requiring intensive assessment and treatment.

The team comprises of:

  • Psychogeriatrician (Psychiatrist specializing in the Mental Health of Older People)
  • Clinical Nurse Specialist
  • Registered Nurse
  • Duly Authorised Officer (requirement for admissions by the Mental Health Compulsory Assessment and Treatment Act)

All are skilled in the assessment and treatment of the elderly and provide support and recovery assistance for patients on the A,T&R ward and out in the community.

The service has easy access to Geriatricians (Specialist Doctors), Occupational Therapists, Physiotherapists, Social Workers, Needs Assessment and Lifelinks assessments services, and also to non government organisations such as Richmond New Zealand and Victoria House.

Alcohol and other drugs

This service is located in the northern wing of the Kensington facility.  The team of addiction specialists provides assessment and treatment for those experiencing a moderate to severe addiction. They also provide education on the effects of addictive substances. Treatment packages may include referral to residential or de-toxification services.

The service provides the Timaru Methadone programme, which provides opioid substitution treatments for people with an opiate addiction.  This includes psychiatric support  and medical assessment from a GP. Education about the effects of Methadone is provided to potential service users prior to them being admitted to the programme.

In accordance with the nationwide focus on the Co-Existing Problems Programme, everyone seen by the service is also assessed for any potential mental health issues alongside their addictions. This ensures that all challenges to their recovery journey are acknowledged and steps taken to address them.

A & OD Team offers appointments under the Choice and Partnership Approach (CAPA) model, which offers more choice with meeting times and engagement with services.

Infant, child and adolescent mental health (iCAMH)

This service is located in the Kensington facility. They provide assessment and treatment to infant, children and adolescents experiencing a diagnosed mental illness.  They will also endeavour to include the family in any treatment planning.  The team includes Registered Nurses, Social Workers and Occupational Therapist.  Scheduled appointments with Psychiatrists and Psychologists are run on a regular basis to provide access to full clinical services.

Health Professionals also work with community agencies and schools to help co-ordinate the approach to the recovery journey of the child or adolescent in the service.

iCAMHS offers appointments under the Choice and Partnership Approach (CAPA) model, which offers more choice with meeting times and engagement with services.

Māori mental health

This service is located in the Kensington Centre and provides specialist care to those service users who identify as Māori.  They assist with the well being of tangata whaiora and their whanau by providing cultural assessments and supporting recovery through the Te Whare Tapu Wha model. They can also assist tangata whaiora with the process of reconnecting with their  whanau, iwi and hapu if this is requested.

The team consists of the MMHT manager and Māori Advisor and a dedicated team of Māori Mental Health Workers.  They can  visit tangata whaiora in the ward and  provide support for their whanau at this time.  A special room in the Kensington building (Te Whare Tiaki Mahana) is available for whanau meetings if required.