7 Dec 2017

Mental health patients held in Cook Islands jail

12:54 pm on 7 December 2017

The Cook Islands Minister of Health says mental health patients are being held in prison because their is no dedicated mental health facility.

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Photo: RNZ/Claire Eastham-Farrelly

Nandi Glassie told parliament this week that some patients with extreme behavioural issues are in Arorangi prison due to limited funds allocated to mental health.

He said the Health Ministry was looking for a full time psychologist to assist the two part timers undertaking mental health assessments.

Mr Glassie said the lack of a proper facility was becoming a problem and families do not want their mentally unwell members taken to prison.

The Cook Islands News reported the opposition leader William Heather questioned the minister about the allocation of funding to care for mental health patients.