Recently retired community mental health nurse Cathy Long has worked in the industry for more than 55 years, 45 with the Hawke's Bay District Health Board. Hawke's Bay Today reporter Astrid Austin talks to her about the rise of methamphetamine and how it changed her job for good.
Cathy Long's warm eyes and smile light up her face, and her Irish wit immediately obvious.
She's good at putting people at ease.
"I remember I was buying cottons for my son in Hastings and I was getting in the car and this lady says, 'Cathy you don't remember me but you were my lifesaver'," she recalls.
The woman who had had post-natal depression pointed to her son at that moment and said, 'he's eight-years-old now'.
"It's moments like that ..." Cathy says.
Moments like that, that have made the inevitable ups and downs of working in the mental health industry for more than five decades worth it.
Forty-five years ago, Long, having just returned from Europe to Birmingham, was restless, and in need of a change.
"I put a pin in a map, and New Zealand came up and so I applied," she says.
"They were desperate for psychiatric nurses, and they paid for my fare out here - I think it was five or 10 pounds."
Long was only 16 when she first started in orthopaedics with the French Sisters of Charity, before doing her psychiatric nurse training in Dublin, qualifying in ward management and therapeutic communities for psychiatric patients.
Her arrival in 1969, to Porirua, as a registered nurse, came at a poignant time in mental health in New Zealand - just before the country moved towards deinstitutionalisation and the closure of large psychiatric hospitals.
Long says this brought about "a lot of problems".
She has "difficulty" with the way in which, those who were chronically mentally ill, and unable to "do all the things that all of us take for granted," were "domiciled back to their place of origin and became a sort of nomadic".
"It was a big institution, that, okay, its practices weren't as I would like them to be, but at least it was a building where the patients could go on a Saturday night, and have a band and a dance have some semblance of normality in their lives, and some fun.
"They worked in occupational therapy workshops and got paid, so there was some semblance of independence there."
She only spent six months in Porirua, and was "thankful for that".
Her two-year contract to work in New Zealand as a psychiatric nurse led her to Manawaroa in Palmerston North, which opened in 1972, where the distinguished Professor Sir Mason Durie had recently returned from Canada.
"He was a very bright lad, and it was just such an honour to work with him during the 70s. He just saw things so simply.
"We had a staff teaching session every Wednesday afternoon, it was just an amazing place to work, I don't know if it still is."
During that time, she met her husband, Frank, and in two-and-a-half-years, had three children - leaving her job, as there was no maternity leave in those days.
She returned and moved to Hawke's Bay Hospital, where she was given the charge nurse's job again. "I made it as therapeutic as can be."
THE BIGGEST CHANGE: THE RISE OF P
Of all the changes she has seen in her time, it is the use of P, which she says has been most harmful.
"P is the root of all evil.
"You don't know what you're dealing with; is it schizophrenia? or is it a drug-induced psychosis? Most people are using something these days."
About 15 years ago, Long began working in the community. As of this month, before she retired, she had 29 patients, most of them chronically mentally ill, but living in the community.
"Some in pretty horrific places, dirty, clothes not washed ... I have one guy who never showers, has been ripped off financially, I have another guy who sleeps under a tree," she said.
She says while institutions went, nothing replaced them. They did, but briefly.
"When I heard the budget was coming out, I was intrigued by the money that is being given to mental health but they didn't say what is going to be used for, I still don't know what it is going to be used for.
"We need to build strong families. There's no point of throwing money at people, because if they go on P, or whatever that poison is … but if they had a voucher from the government, one where the basics could be obtained.
"But throwing money is not going to fix the problem and you have to work with the patient."
She believes the key is to help those at the "lower end".
"We don't want young people to become chronic either and if they have somewhere to live, some people walking a long side them, the chance of a decent life is pretty good. But if they're just behind a closed door, looking at a screen all day, it's not good."
Now, at the sprightly age of 76, she hopes to have time to focus on her family. But she will never forget the people she's met along the way.
"I liked the idea of listening to people and letting them talk because you can sit for half an hour sometimes before somebody will tell you what their problem is - They may not tell you at all, but that's okay.
"If you can't be touched by the human race, there's not much point in life really.
"I worked with the best team in NZ - Hastings Community Mental Health. They're just great, everybody helps one another."