Daniel Timms says the Nikau House mental health facility has been a lifeline. Photo: Jonty Dine.

Fighting to keep Nikau House open

0
794

A mental health facility in Nelson may be closing after 30 years of serving the community.

Nikau House is set to shut its doors as part of a restructuring of mental health resources.

Daniel Timms, a regular user of Nikau House, fears its closure could see him end up in the psychiatric ward again.

“I will feel lost and have nowhere to go.”

The proposal suggests transitioning clients to other existing non-government organisations, community centres and marae.

Daniel has suffered with mental health issues all his life and says Nikau House has been a lifeline and haven for him.

He says staff there have provided him with crucial education around diet, exercise, budgeting, sleep and legal advice as well as offering support for those having problems with addiction and mental health.

“It is a one-stop support shop.”

Nikau House also offers Daniel a sense of purpose as he works in the kitchen helping clean dishes.

He says without it, his mental health will suffer.

“I will isolate myself and it will hinder me making friendships with people who accept me for me.”

However, he will not let it go without a fight.

Daniel has written to local MPs as well as celebrities and government officials.

“I am not going to give up.”

Nelson MP Nick Smith says he strongly supports the return of Nikau House.

“It is essential for the support of hundreds of Nelsonians needing community-based support.”

A petition has been created online to help save Nikau House and has already gained more than 2800 signatures.

Nelson Labour candidate Rachel Boyack also strongly opposes the proposal.

“As soon as I heard this news, I wrote to the DHB expressing my concern.”

Rachel says, before coming up with a view, she spoke to people who use the service, their families, other NGO providers and the union which represents the workers.

“This proposal is not supported by people who use the services at Nikau House or their families, and should be stopped.

“It’s not the right time for vulnerable clients to be engaged in a change proposal given everything we’ve been through during the Covid-19 lockdown.”

Nelson Marlborough Health is encouraging service users to be part of the decision.

People wishing to advocate for Nikau House can contact Nelson Marlborough Health until June 26.