Promoting mental health, demystifying mental illness, countering stigma and discrimination

Going into Hospital

Just like other medical conditions, at times, mental illness may require a stay in hospital. 
The inpatient unit, Te Puna Waiora "the spring of healing waters" is sited at
Taranaki Base Hospital in New Plymouth.

Hospital and Community Treatment:

People tend to be admitted to Te Puna Waiora if they are extremely troubled by symptoms and require intensive care until their symptoms become stabilised. 

The preferred treatment option , if at all possible, is community based psychiatric services.

Patients are admitted voluntarily, as informal patients, or under the Mental Health (Compulsory Assessment and Treatment) Act 1992. Admission is by a psychiatrist only.

Voluntary or Informal Admission:

If the psychiatrist or other treating professional recommends hospital treatment and you agree to be admitted, this is called 'voluntary admission'. If the psychiatrist does not think that hospital treatment is necessary, then staff in partnership with you and your family/whanau will get you, if required, appropriate support from community based mental health services or Acute Home Based Treatment Service.

Informal or voluntary patients are free to refuse treatment or to discharge themselves at any time, but please discuss these plans with staff if you are considering doing this.

Committed or Involuntary Admission:

If your psychiatrist or other treating professional recommends that you need hospitalisation and you do not agree, it is possible, under certain circumstances, for you to be admitted without your consent. 

The exact circumstances will vary from person to person, but in general, you are admitted for your own health or safety or for the protection of others. These circumstances must be due to a mental illness that can be treated in Te Puna Waiora.

There are a number of legal requirements setting out the circumstances and limits as to when and how a person can be a committed or involuntary patient. These will be explained to you and your family/whanau on admission and during the course of your hospital treatment.

Committed patients are required by law to take the treatment prescribed for them and must stay in hospital until the discharge is approved.  It is important that you understand this process and the importance of it. If you require further explanations - please ask a staff member.

Any patient concerned about their legal rights may ask to see the District Inspector of Mental Health, Taranaki.

For further information please request from a staff member the fact-sheet Understanding Compulsory Treatment.

What to bring:
You will need your usual daywear and a few changes of clothing, also nightwear, slippers and toiletries. It is better to send washing home, although there is a washing machine and tumble dryer available in the laundry. 

It is also OK to bring in some personal items such as photos and small radios. Earphones are preferred.  This may help to make you feel more comfortable.  

Please DO NOT bring any valuable items into the unit, as we cannot guarantee their safety and do not take responsibility for property. Please ask your family to take your valuables home. Money can be locked in a safe at corporate reception.

Drugs and alcohol are not permitted in the unit. All prescription drugs, over the counter medication and herbal preparations must be handed in on admission or return from leave.

If it is suspected that you have illicit substances with you, your property and person will be searched and the matter will be referred to the police. If it is suspected a visitor is bringing illicit substances in, they may be searched or asked to leave and the police will be contacted. It is not only your illness you may affect - but others in the unit. We have a zero tolerance policy on illicit substances.

Like Minds Taranaki gratefully acknowledges the financial support of this website by
The Ministry of Health

 Feedback is always welcome
Like Minds Taranaki, 06-759-0966, email:

Taranaki Mental Health Sector