9 Jan 2013

Samoa prison death highlights mental health care woes

2:14 pm on 9 January 2013

A psychiatrist in Samoa has expressed sympathy and regret for the death of a mental health patient from New Zealand on Boxing Day, saying it highlights the need for more staff and adequate resources.

Dr Ian Parkin says Hans Dalton was found dead at Tafa'igata Prison on Boxing Day, after police put him there when he became violent.

He says mental health staff are deeply saddened by the incident, but hope it will bring about key changes.

"This has been a big wake-up call for everyone else out there, who I've been saying to them for years that you have got to deal with these things, you have got to manage them properly and now finally they are going, oh is that what you mean. So we are very sorry this has happened."

Dr Ian Parkin says a new Mental Health Unit is being built soon, but more trained staff would improve the quality of care for such patients.