Taranaki Health Foundation launches fundraising drive

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By Sieska Verdonk

A bare room is what currently confronts patients when they are admitted to Te Puna Waiora, the Mental Health and Addictions area at Taranaki Base Hospital.

But a bright colourful room is what the Taranaki Health Foundation wants them to be greeted with in the future.

The open minds project aims to raise $180,000 to help patients feel less stressed and more at home.

"We have got a range of really amazing projects that we would really like to enhance within the unit. So there is the fitness zone, we really want to enhance the green space and the courtyard, some beautiful artwork, and some furniture for a whanau room," says Bry Kopu, Taranaki Health Foundation General Manager.

People who enter the facility are invariably in a traumatised state - and are often assessed as a danger to themselves or others.

"It can be very stressful for patients themselves and also for family members who are here supporting people when they are very unwell in the unit, so, having an environment that's less clinical and more homely, will make people feel a little more relaxed," says Mrs Kopu.

They are appealing to the public to help out.

"Everybody knows a family member, a friend out there, who has had an experience with mental health in one way or another. So we are hoping, from a Taranaki perspective, that that's going to appeal to most people," says Wendy Langlands, Taranaki DHB Clinical Services Manager.

Taranaki DHB has invested 2.4 million so far for the redesign and extra money is for home comforts.

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