Crisis Respite Service: Exactly What I Needed

Your stories
Your Stories
May 15, 2024

Throughout my life I have lived on the streets, been married and divorced, worked a variety of jobs and spent time in a mental ward after being diagnosed with depression and a split personality. Often I have felt like ending it all. Recently, I stayed at the Crisis Respite Support Service and it has given me a new fight and motivation to carry on, and to sort my life out.

Growing up, my father would often lash out. Sometimes at my mother, sometimes at me.

I always felt I could never do anything right. I can remember one time when I didn’t finish the dishes on time I got the strap from my father. Another time, when I was about 10, he dunked me into the cow trough several times. I became frightened and disillusioned.

And so, just before my 16th birthday, I jumped on my bicycle and took off. My father threw stones at me as I quickly peddled out the driveway, but I didn’t look back.

After leaving home, I stayed with a friend for some time. My parents tried to get me to come home but I wasn’t listening. I was done.

Realising I couldn’t stay at my friend’s house forever, I decided to leave. But that meant I was completely on my own.

I found a bridge and I slept under it for a while. I slept in lots of different places during that time – wrecked cars, park toilets, an abandoned building; anywhere I could find shelter. I had no money and just the clothes on my back. I would sometimes find food like discarded bread rolls but otherwise I didn’t eat.

Eventually I was found by social welfare and sent to a boys’ home. I really enjoyed my time at the boy’s home. We would go camping, rabbit shooting, and all sorts. We even had a swimming pool. I really felt at home.

After leaving the boys’ home I moved around a bit and eventually settled in Southland where I stayed for a large number of years and worked in various different jobs.

I met a woman, got married and together we had a child a year or so later. Things were going really well for me and life was good. However, unfortunately, the marriage fell over and my grandmother, who I had become very close to, died around the same time.

This started my journey into mental health.

I was angry, destructive, sad and lonely and after a while I was admitted to a mental health ward. I was deemed a danger to myself and diagnosed with depression and a split personality.

Everything inside me had just crashed and left an empty hole in its place. I wasn’t myself for a long time.

I spent years receiving support from the hospital, psychologists and psychiatrists, and eventually I ended up living in my own flat and working full time.

After a few years I had to stop working due to an injury. I have been unable to work ever since.

After finishing up at work I moved further south, and while I was happy I noticed I had started shutting myself inside a lot.

Recently my key worker from Community Mental Health told me about the Crisis Respite Service at Nga Kete. She thought it would be beneficial for me, so I decided to give it a go.

I didn’t know what I was walking into but I quickly learnt it was exactly what I had needed. I didn’t realise how much I needed it until I was there.

The staff were fantastic, the room and meals were fantastic and I learnt so much about myself while I was there. The staff were so easy to talk to and they would often take the time to sit with me. They even took me places like the doctor and into town to get new footwear.

This opportunity meant the world to me. It has helped me to open up more and not stay so enclosed within myself. It has given me the fight to keep going and to enjoy everything that’s around me.

I am now back in touch with my mother and sister after many years, and I am taking care of myself much better. Everything is tracking in the right way for me now. I am no longer shutting myself in.

Ngā Kete Matauranga Pounamu Charitable Trust is pleased to provide Tūmanako Oranga Wellness Centre, a hub of wellbeing services in a specialized, co-ordinated setting.

At the centre, we offer a Crisis Respite Service (up to six days), including:

  • Therapeutic interventions
  • A warm, safe, comfortable healing environment
  • A drop-in day program and more
  • Meals
  • Bedding and towels

To learn more get in touch with us on (03) 928 5701 or Freephone 0800 925 242, or email

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