The run-down of the psychiatric institutions has led to innovative and novel methods of treatment of the mentally ill in the community. In New Zealand, as in other countries, deinstitutionalisation of the more traditional psychiatric services is proceeding rapidly and the statutory and non-statutory community services are straining under the burden. Amid the turmoil of change and the crying out for alternative provisions, a pilot scheme was proposed to serve the mentally ill in the population of West Auckland. In early 1988 the Extended Hours Team (EHT) was born. It is based on the model used in North Sydney, Australia (Hoult, 1986) and Madison, Wisconsin (Stein & Test, 1980). At the time of conception of the EHT, cost cutting was the rule which led to a difficult gestation but a surprisingly easy delivery and subsequent development over the first year.
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