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Services Section

Mental Health Care

The West Coast Mental Health Services comprises of multidisciplinary teams consisting of qualified and talented recovery focused health practitioners in supportive and friendly environments in the Buller, Central West Coast and Westland areas of the West Coast. As a rural centre of excellence in health provision always striving for improvement, you will feel at home whatever your discipline or specialty, be it Psychiatry, Psychology, Support Work, Occupational Therapy, Nursing, Family Advising or Social Work.

The three Community Mental Health teams provide a range of services including:

  • Alcohol and Drug
  • Methadone Programme
  • Child and Adolescent
  • Forensic Service
  • Adult Community Mental Health
  • Māori Mental Health
  • Psychiatric Emergency Services

A range of community based mental health support services are provided by non government organisations (NGO's) including Level III and IV residential beds and activity/vocational services.

Entry to Specialist Mental Health Nursing Programme

WCDHB offers nurses interested in working in the mental health specific practice area the opportunity to develop specialist skill, in a small support team environment.

Our New Graduate Programme is of one years duration and includes the following aspects:

  • Mentoring / preceptor support
  • Clinical supervision
  • Academic programme
  • Two Clinical rotations

Each of these elements combine to assist you develop role and consolidate your nursing skills in the mental health practice setting.

  • Mentoring and preceptorship
  • Assists role development
  • Enhances learning through critical reflection
  • Builds confidence
  • Builds clinical skill development /consolidation
  • Clinical supervision

A requirement for all clinical staff working in mental health, supervision allows you to discuss clinical issues as they arise, review treatment approaches, clarify professional boundaries and maintain your ability use reflection to enhance your own learning.

Academic Programme

PG Certificate in MH Nursing

WCDHB require all new graduate nurses to undertake the PG Certificate in MH Nursing.

This programme is offered by the Canterbury District Health Board, through the Christchurch School of Medicine, Otago University. The course is fully funded through Te Pou.

New Graduate nurses attend classes and study days in Christchurch with the CDHB cohort.

The programme is offered in block courses, which require 8 study days per semester (16 per year), plus additional study days. You will be released from clinical practice to attend.

Te Pou fund a variety of clinically focused courses that are available to you in the following years, and there are enhanced opportunities to progress to PG Diploma, Masters or Clinical Masters while with the WCDHB.

Clinical Rotation

The two clinical rotations are for approx 5 months each.

One is in the acute inpatient unit, where the focus is on developing skill in the management of patients in need to a high level of nursing input.

The other placement is with the community mental health team and is designed to assist.

Professional Development Programme

New graduate competencies are at Level 1 - minimum level for registration.

All new graduates will have reached Level 2 (Competent Practitioner) by completion of their NG programme.

This is a dual requirement within both the DHB and the PG programme.

Why the Coast

The remote, rural nature of the Coast offer a unique challenge.

Limited access to specialist services require nurses to develop a higher level of generalist skills, higher levels of creativity and to develop a wider range of clinical skills and expertise.

Nursing of the Coast creates the opportunity to work within an environment that assists nurses develop a truly holistic approach to the delivery of care.

The size of the DHB is such that individuals matter and are not lost in the crowd.

Lifestyle factors

The Coast is the sportsperson's paradise with easy access to sailing, fishing, tramping, hunting, kayaking, skiing and biking. The mountain biking is to die for.

For the non-sporting there the community is one that offers old neighbourliness values.

Related Links

New Graduate Nursing Programmes


For further information please don't hesitate to contact:

Anne Tacon, ADoN MHS
Phone: (03) 769-7400 ex 2611

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Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services

The Child & Adolescent Mental Health Service (CAMHS) consists a of a multi-disciplinary team that offers specialist assessment and treatment for infants, children and young people up to the age of 18 years. CAMHS provides services to infants, children and adolescents who have serious mental health disorders; or suspected psychiatric disorders; and/or psychological disorders including severe emotional and behavioural disturbance.  CAMHS also provides Youth Alcohol and Drug assessment and counseling. Children of a parent or sibling with mental illness are supported to understand & cope with their situation by a full time child & adult resource worker. This innovative position also offers assistance to clients in parenting skills when necessary.

The team is based in Greymouth and covers all of the West Coast.  When necessary the team has access to inpatient beds in Christchurch.

He Oranga Kahurangi – Dementia care

The  22 bed unit provides full inpatient assessment, relative relief and long term health care services for elderly people who have been assessed as having dementia and are highly nurse dependent, or maybe likely to harm themselves and others, or have behavioural problems such as aggression, confusion or wandering.  Patients require the 24 hour supervision of a Registered Nurse. The team is comprised of a skill mix of Registered Nurses, Enrolled Nurses, Psychiatric Assistants, and Activity Co-ordinators. Support and advice is provided to clients, staff and families in community settings by an outreach service on a visiting basis.  Psychogeriatrician consultancy is contracted from Canterbury DHB with visits to the West Coast on a six weekly basis and contact in between these visits as required.

The focus of care is to provide a safe, homely, caring and stimulating environment for patients who, because of advanced mental deterioration and/ or physical condition, are unable to attend to their own activities of daily living without assistance from a nurse.

The service also includes a 4 bed psychogeriatric assessment unit, which accepts referrals from GPs, rest homes, other hospitals and community mental health. 

Māori Mental Health

The Māori Mental Health Team provides both clinical and cultural services to all areas of Mental Health on the West Coast.  The WCDHB receives funding for 3.5 full time equivalents to work in Māori Mental Health. Currently there is a review underway to determine how this service will be provided in the future.

Manaakitanga - Inpatient Unit

The unit is located at Grey Base Hospital alongside the Community Mental Health team. This co-location provides improved integration between inpatient and community mental health services. Inpatient services include intensive, acute and sub-acute services.