Thank you, Maori Television, for screening the strong but shameful documentary/film Mental Notes on Tuesday at 8.30pm.
This was the powerful work of Jim Marbrook about New Zealand's psychiatric hospitals through to the late 1990s when they closed.
I found much of it hard to watch and after the final credits was too saddened and miserable to head straight off to bed.
I had to switch into a happier mindset otherwise I would have had a night dreaming my way through dark and shadowy corridors.
Marbrook and his crew had gone to most of the old crumbling "bins" throughout the country. The narration was quiet and compelling, told by five former patients.
I remember those old institutional days when these hospitals became more like prisons, particularly from the 1960s, rather than havens for the mentally ill.
And it always seemed mad to me that some of them sounded like jolly holiday resorts with names like Sunnyside, Cherry Farm and Seacliff.
The secrets and often shameful histories of these institutions were unvarnished and hard hitting in this documentary.
There were no apologies. It was told exactly as it had been.
Stomach churning it was but at the same time these were the facts, often hideous but ever affirming. These were the truths of that time.
The testimony from the five survivors of the "bad old days of mental health care" was as though their strength and endurance had been honoured.
They talked about the days of massive doses of the psychiatric drug, Largactil, used to treat several conditions - but in those old days it was handed out like lollies to keep especially the secure blocks quiet and manageable; not to mention the endless electroconvulsive therapy (ECT), which became a standard psychiatric treatment.
The heart of this documentary was very black; so much so that I even felt sympathy for the staff of those hospitals who had actually cared.
Then there were others who were negatively affected by their environment, which didn't help them or anyone else.
One of the patient survivors, Anne Helm, said "for many, the path to healing is about accepting that things have happened".
In 2005 Helm served as a panel member of a Government-appointed confidential forum for former patients that heard evidence of poor practice and abuse in the old psychiatric hospitals. "There has never been formal recognition,"she said.
So from Porirua, to Kingseat hospitals, Oakley and Carrington and all the others it was a bleak tour.
The worst was right here in our backyard - the isolated and death-like grounds of Lake Alice where it was alleged but never proven that psychiatrist Selwyn Leeks abused children in his care.