I was in one of those places, temporarily and illegally as I was being punished for legally protesting about abusive mental health services, government corruption (including purposely making poor people suffer and allowing them to die by depriving them of health care and justice), poverty etc.
When the Ombudsman’s office – who I definitely know to be grossly corrupt – came out with a statement recently that they had inspected Wellington secure mental health units and there were not adverse events and he had been liasing with District Inspectors I had proof of the corruption. A friend of mine suicided where I was due to the cruel severe lockdown procedures we were subjected to by abusive staff – already abusive before the lockdown and they got worse afterwards – as you would expect with abuses of power. (refer Prof Philip Zimbardo). I had been in constant contact with the DI and she knew nothing about Bosier’s inspection and had not spoken to him, when I phoned her the day I saw the news item.
I contacted the Ombudsman’s office and was told I AM NOT ALLOWED TO PHONE THEM AND THEY HUNG UP ON ME. I emailed them about some of what had happened but have had no response whatsoever. As backstory to this, I have begged the Ombudsman for help for many years and be rejected over and over again, even though I know my complaints are valid. Part of my protesting involved taping art a piece of art expressing what I thought of their bigotry discrimination and injustice. As a result the Ombudsman lobbied the police multiple times to have me charged with ‘wilful damage’ and ‘wilful trespass’. Police in Wellington didn’t do anything about it, because THAT WOULD BE ILLEGAL – however I was being processed for another protest a few years ago and the Ombudsman’s emails were accidently put with some other documents.
List of violations of human rights/disabled rights and lockdown processes in New Zealand mental health facility.
- We were locked down and not allowed outside five days before the rest of New Zealand, we were not allowed to prepare at all for the lockdown as we were not allowed to leave the building for our usual community visits from Saturday morning.
- All Occupational Therapy processes stopped, all contracted staff were stopped, all weekly activities were stopped initially (SOME were reinstated but only because I was making repeated complaints).
- No patient was allowed to leave the building, we had a larger outside yard with high fences, that is 100m to walk around the outside of in the mens area and two small yards in teh women’s area, one that wasn’t big enough to walk around and the other is a fully enclosed metal cage big enough for a car to park and open all 4 doors – this goes directly into the women’s ‘de-escalation’ unit where new people usually live – where I was put.
- Prior to lockdown part of our rights and reward for ‘good behaviour’ was people in this particular unit were allowed supervised (and unsupervised) visits into the community. To do things like go to the shops or a park/beach etc. I can’t remember everybody’s PLAN but mine was 2 one hour supervised visits a week, where I was also allowed my mobile phone (not initially, initially when you arrive you are not allowed to do anything other patients are). I was also allowed 3 half hour sessions on a computer to go on social media or look up information on google etc. Plus twice daily 30 min walks outside the unit but still on hospital property.
- As punishment for ANYTHING the staff decided (for good reason or not) patients were deprived of their community visits and going for walks outside the unit but on hospital property. Patients were also deprived of their freedom by being locked in small isolation parts of the unit, they were deprived of things like incoming and outgoing phone calls, seeing a doctor, occupational therapy/art room, more comfortable bedding (eg I was deprived of two mattresses to sleep on and left with one for months by nurses – wasn’t until I told the Occupational Therapist how much pain I was in trying to get up – I have ankle/leg injury issues – within two hours I had a second mattress.
- When staff called us together to tell us we would be locked down early and all the home and community visits were stopped, along with people coming to the unit. The young woman who ‘died suddenly’ had her first home visit with her mum (after 12 months) organised for the weekend we were shut down and it wasn’t allowed to happen – she was very disappointed. It was a junior mental health nurse (a revolting abuser) that told us because she didn’t want to wait for the shift supervisor. Also management staff are not working on the weekend, so were not attending or explaining anything about what was happening and going to happen. When I objected to some of the restrictions – knowing they were a gross violation of our rights, I was insulted, degraded and intimidated for speaking up. By staff and those patients they were nice to and enjoyed being there (both patients were men with brain injuries and histories of extreme violence, which was intimidating for me)
- It wasn’t until a few days later I ASKED TO BORROW CLEANING EQUPIMENT from the contracted cleaner to clean all the door handles and things us patients and staff touched all the time. The cleaner refused to do it, saying it wasn’t in her contract (note there was one really bad cleaner who was there most of the time and two others who worked occasionally who were awesome and really cleaned up for the lazy one). After a few days the occasional staff member cleaned the occasional door handle etc.
- There was one computer for the 15 patients to use, including for zoom psychiatrist, dietician etc. There were as many as 15 individual computers in the staffroom that were not allowed to be used. We were deprived of use of the computers for the first few weeks of lockdown but eventually allowed to reinstate our previous PLANs with no extensions due to the lockdown. While people in the community were encouraged (on TV adverts as well) to stay connected via social media. I never saw one computer being cleaned between users, I had to clean all the phones – which we did have slightly more access to during lockdown but not on the days the really abusive staff were on. I was told during lockdown I would only be allowed 3 mobile phone calls a week, as this was the rules. I ignored this person and did phone people when I wanted up until the sudden death, then I was not allowed to call anybody and people who called me were not put through many times (including from when I first arrived).
- Because of the horrendous management of that place, people who were FRIENDS and brown nosed the nurse manager got more hours than others. They used to get paid time and a half on weekends so the worst staff/teams worked then as the pay was good and they could intimidate, abuse and degrade patients without ‘outsiders’ (other support staff & management from outside the unit) around. They didn’t choose staff because they were safer as they were younger, were living alone or had very small bubbles, were living locally etc. In fact they avoided using those sorts of people – mostly because they were casuals and not part of the TIGHT KNIT TEAM OF ABUSERS so were more of a threat to their very cushy unprofessional work lifestyle.
- We were told staff at Ministry of Health in Wellington (ie Dr Ashley Bloomfield and his staff) were the ones imposing severe illegal lockdown restrictions – not the staff we were dealing with (I don’t believe that was true with every restriction we were subjected to).
- ON the weekend we were locked down I heard a male staff member joking and gloating about how work would be even easier than normal as they didn’t have to do anything. Management and staff believed a constant stream of videos (many of them violent and/or of a sexual nature, in a psych ward with people who have committed serious violent and sexual crimes – mostly men, but also women). I have never hurt anybody, they hurt me, I was put in this place as punishment and to intimidate me to stop me legally protesting about how bad mental health services are/poverty/neo-liberal extremism/govt corruption etc. Movies used to start at 9am sometimes, women couldn’t watch them in our unit because our TVs couldn’t be hooked up to a computer and weren’t loaded with Sky Sports or movies or Netflix, like the mens area TVs were.
- Staff used to tell us stories about their family members breaking lockdown and going to their workplace to get something they needed, or going to see friends they weren’t supposed to. Their contempt for us was so ingrained, our safety being compromised didn’t even enter their heads.
- Several decent staff who were casual nurses and MH support workers and living alone during Lockdown 4 were prevented from working, while staff who had big families got more work.
- Two staff members from outside the Wellington/Porirua region worked constantly during lockdown both had members of their bubble violating lockdown. One was from Wairarapa and the other from Levin – while two staff members who were living alone and lived in Porirua were stopped from working WHEN THEY WANTED TO BECAUSE THEY WERE BORED AT HOME ALONE.
- NEW STAFF were employed and started work during Lockdown 4. One of them was a 7 months pregnant Indian woman and another a young Maori woman (she was cool but didn’t stand up to lazy bully staff, she did all the work to keep busy, she did some exercises to help support me but no other staff would).
- Several staff members who were kept working were over 65, one of them was 72, should not be working at any job and had several BOARDERS in her bubble. So not only did she get a pension, she worked almost full time (cause she was liked by management and an abuser) and had her own home with every room filled with a boarder who worked locally. Same old lady who used to continually gloat about all the overseas trips and cruises she did – lots of the staff did that. I said something about how inappropriate it was to talk about these things in front of people who often were from extremely poor backgrounds, that it was offensive – staff would ALWAYS get up, walk out and lock any door they could as punishment for me saying something.
- Just before and beginning of lockdown staff forced patients to watch the news IN ITS ENTIREITY on the unit TVs. Even though patients were supposed to have control of what was watched, it was cruel abusive staff who actually had control. Because I was new and unwell and didn’t want to hear ALL the news I asked for channel to be changed after 10 mins – I was becoming very upset and traumatised – staff subjected me to weeks of psychological abuse/lied in clinic notes etc for asking for the channel to be changed. Staff said I stood in front of the communal TV and was yelling when asking for the channel to be changed. They also said other patients didn’t want it changed. None of which was true, a meeting with the nurse manager and a psychiatrist about that situation confirmed I was telling the truth, but minutes of the meeting didn’t have anything about the discussion and nothing was done about what was and did happen to me.
- In lockdown 4 staff were still bringing in books to swap in the little library (that was supposed to be for patients, yeah right). I had to ask for them to be cleaned before any of us touched them, they were left on a dinner table for us to look at.
- During lockdown 4 Dennis Klue the manager (everybody calls him Clueless and the nurse manager’s surname is hope and she’s called Hopeless – very accurate description)brought in two tradesmen to replace every toilet roll and paper towel holder in every patients room and communal areas. The didn’t finish everything on the first day so they came back the next day as well. When I complained I was told the changes were necessary because they had changed their paper supplier to one that was cheaper (and American which I don’t know if that’s relevant).
- The first time I was allowed out to walk on the grounds the strange Wairarapa nurse with me patted a dog of some random people. Same nurse was really strict and although nice when she started working there soon became degrading, insulting and abusive – like the others.
- The other five female patients in the small part of the unit we were in (while 9 men were in the rest of the unit – which was originally supposed to be ONLY FOR WOMEN) went to bed after we were locked down. At least for the first week, I was always up early and doing my best to keep busy, lose weight and keep fit – majority of staff were not supportive of any of the things I was doing. I used to ask them for help but they were so lazy and completely self-absorbed vast majority wouldn’t do anything. Several random outsiders did come into the unit, we weren’t told why they were there. One day during Lockdown 4 one of the worst support workers a big nasty Samoan bully of a woman came in with a person and said this is the women’s area, they all sleep until lunch time. I was sitting there, working on a play I was writing, or doing crochet I had decided to learn during lockdown, or reading a history book, or doing my accupressure exercises to help with my swollen leg (which had a blood clot but doctors in there told me it was tendonitis and nothing to worry about). It was like I didn’t exist, which is how most of the staff treated you, especially with visitors.
- One of the casual nurses, who I got on with, was in her 50s, Samoan had been a nurse all her life involved in public health, she was also a trained counsellor. She was critical of staff and attitudes in that place, she told me but because she had been bullied a lot in her life (and her culture) she just ignored how bad the staff culture was there and tried to get on with her job. She lived on her own and when she came in just before I was thrown out, she told me she was finding things difficult as she was alone in her bubble and really liked coming to work so she had something to do. She would have been an invaluable and safe person to have working on a full time basis and would have relished how she could have helped patients. Instead she was prevented from working as much as she usually did in her casual position with C & C DHB. I know for a fact management staff knew how we got on and they prevented her from working – preferring to have the cruellest nurses on.
- Other patients were in contact with other people in other units within the Porirua psychiatric hospital grounds, our unit was getting more restrictive and worse treatment than them. Patients in other units were also told more than we were. It took many weeks before management would even come and talk to us about what was happening.
- Ideas we had about how to make lockdown more bearable were discouraged and those I suggested were of course mostly ignored. Nothing I suggested was outside the lockdown rules in all hospitals – as I had a little time on the internet and looked up what the rules were.
- The saddest thing, is I could see the other people struggling and I wasn’t too affected because I am very isolated in the community and used to being restricted by my phobias and extreme valid fear of police etc. I tried so many times to get people more help, so many. The young woman who died was really struggling, we talked about it and she missed going to a cafe (she had just been given leave to do this before lockdown and it stopped). We had two fully equipped kitchens in the unit – in the men’s area – nothing in the women’s area. I asked repeatedly if we could do some baking together and more regularly than the cooking some were allowed to do before lockdown. I was insulted and refused.
- Those who were not allowed to go out the community were allowed to buy things through a shop type arrangement, where a staff member would go out and buy things – eg stamps, juice, shampoo/condition, healthy & unhealth snack foods. This all stopped during lockdown because they couldn’t work out how patients could pay for the items without cash – they couldn’t do online payments apparently. Instead of us being able to buy things we really needed Dennis Klue used to bring us every week a 1.5 of coke zero, packet of lollies, packet of biscuits and large packet of chippies – during easter we got chocolate as well. I don’t eat junk food like this and chocolate gives me migraines so I don’t eat it. We weren’t allowed to make biscuits we had to buy them.
- A lot of the women and men had eating issues and were overweight, the dead woman had bad teeth and wasn’t allowed to see a dentist. I know she was in pain several nights after eating her bag of lollies. I stopped giving things I didn’t want to others and started giving them to staff or put them in the prize pool for 1 hour of bingo we did once a week. They tried to stop the bingo until I got upset about it. Apparently they didn’t want to do it because they didn’t have any prizes because they weren’t allowed to go out and buy anything.
- They had one of the best resourced art rooms I HAVE EVER SEEN, we weren’t allowed to go in there for weeks – people have to be supervised, which is fine with me. Because they had cut so many staff and the ones left were so lazy, they wouldn’t take people in there. Some of us could have been making things to use as prizes – but staff wouldn’t do anything as civilised or sensible as that.
- I can’t go on, I’m getting upset, there is more but I need a rest.
I will be sending a copy of this to the Ombudsman, but I have just noticed that it says this WordPress site is not secure – that is not true – it is as secure as every other wordpress site on the internet. When I looked up this website and my youtube channel while I was on the computers in the hospital, I could not find them, even when I put in the URL. Censorship rules in NZ health system, that’s for sure.