Mental Health Taupo / Overview of Southern Lakes Mental Health & Addictions Team

• Southern Lakes Mental Health & Addictions TeamTaupo/Turangi CMHT cover the area from the eastern boundary at Te Haroto to the southern area of State highway 46 and 47.  In the north to the Reporoa Village, across to Maroa on State highway one and across to the western area of Mokai. 

It is a 160kms around the lake, 77kms from Rotorua and 45kms to Turangi.  The population of the area is 32,000 – during holiday periods the population swells to approximately 90,000.  This requires careful planning during holiday periods especially the Christmas/New Year period.

  • 4.60 community mental health nurses
  • 1.00 community mental health nurse (Elderly)
  • 2.00 social worker (1FTE CAF & 1FTE Elderly)
  • 1.00 psychiatrist
  • 1.00 psychologist (CAF)
  • 0.60 psychologist (Adult)
  • 1.00 clinical coordinator
  • 2.00 whai manaaki
  • 1.50 clerical support

All clinicians provide comprehensive mental health assessment, coordinate supports and services to enhance skills for recovery.  Psychiatrists and psychologists run clinics the Gascoigne Street Building in Taupo's central business disctrict and fortnightly in Turangi. The child psychiatrist provides a clinic on Fridays.  Outreach to rest homes occurs as is required.   The remaining clinicians provide a mobile service to clients in their own homes or see people as is appropriate at the Gascoigne Street Building, Ruia Te Huaoranga. 

Specialist skills within the team cover areas such as comprehensive nursing/social work assessments, medication administration, comprehensive education about medication and monitoring of side effects including children and adolescents. They also provide education incorporating learning about mental health disorder in relation to the consumer’s experience, providing options/choices of treatments and interventions.  The team has one Duly Authorised Officer (DAO) who assists the Psychiatric Emergency Team (PET) from time to time with urgent assessments.

Referrals come directly to the community teams via PET and written referrals are received by the NGOs and GPs.  Self referral is high in the Taupo region due to the site of the service which enables other services to send people across the site for self referral.  Calls are triaged by the clinical coordinator or an available clinician during normal working hours.  The clinical coordinator and the psychiatrist review referrals on a daily basis giving a priority rating around action of the referral.  Clinical Review/Allocation meetings with the team occur once a week on a Tuesday when all members of the team are present.  During this meeting all cases are reviewed with a collective decision made on assessment, planning and intervention.  Discharge decisions are discussed with the team and documented in the folder.

Budget Advice Service  Individual service users are referred to this agency as requested, situated in on the Wairoa House site.

Relationship Services  This service provides relationship counselling and has a contract for family court work.  We liaise with them on an as needs basis and they also refer onto our service.

Monte Vista Rest home  Monte Vista provides Crisis Respite to users of the MHS. 

Lennox Cottage  Provides another option of crisis respite as above.  This is a small aged care facility.

Parents Centre One nurse visits every six weeks to provide education around mental health issues, adjustment to parenthood and post natal depression.

Alcohol and Drug Service (Trust) The team leader attends the MHS weekly meeting to liaise with the team regarding shared clients, as mutually agreed with the clients.  This is a time of handover and feedback with the A & D Service.  The relationship with the Taupo agency is valued and has been sustained over many years.  Close collaboration and communication occurs as is required during the week as they are physically sited in the Tauhara Wing but attend at the new facility (Tuwharetoa Street).

Taupo Community Council The social worker attends this monthly meeting as this is an opportunity to work with the community agencies and keep abreast with any local issues or changes that occur in the Taupo community. 

GPs Close links with all local GPs have been built and maintained over the years.    One nurse who visits Turangi on a weekly basis visits the doctors to liaise regularly. 

WINZ Provides funding for child care

The James Family Sited at the Tauhara Wing and utilised as needed.  The relationship with the service is very good being just a walk across the corridor.

Age Concern There has been a long ongoing relationship that is very good with Age Concern.  This continues and their services are utilised by the older consumers in the Taupo/Turangi area.


  • Excellent working relationships with other stakeholders
  • High self referral rate suggesting less stigma from stakeholders and the public  

    Open communication, information is available on service developments.  Maintained clear referral processes/allocation of key worker/initial assessments


  • Maintaining the service during periods of difficulty eg: low numbers of staff 
  • Surviving numerous changes to the leadership of the team  
  • Successful recruitment of new staff members to the rural team