Mental health ‘disaster’ looms
The Dominion Post November 13, 2004, NEWS Pg. 2
The treatment of schizophrenics at the Te Whetu Tawera unit is a “disaster in the making”, says psychiatrist Ian Goodwin, who runs the acute section of the Mason Clinic in Auckland.
Dr Goodwin said Te Whetu Tawera had adopted the theories of Auckland University psychology senior lecturer John Read that schizophrenia was caused by childhood abuse and not a medical condition. As a result, many schizophrenics admitted to the unit were being denied treatment or discharged early, developing problems that saw them end up with the police or the courts, he said.
Auckland District Health Board mental health services clinical leader Nick Argyle said though Dr Read’s position was “extreme”, schizophrenics needing medication were being given it.
Dr Read, the university’s director of clinical psychology, recently published a book, Models of Madness, that developed his theory that schizophrenia was caused by trauma such as childhood sexual abuse and should not be dealt with by drugs and other medical treatments. His theories have sparked controversy in New Zealand and overseas.
It is understood that Dr Read, who is British, uses an adopted name. Auckland University refused Official Information Act requests from The Dominion Post two years ago to give details of his background, qualifications or the institutes where he obtained his qualifications. It said publicity would put him at risk.