We are a non-profit, registered charity. We service was started in 1980 and we now offer a team of Specialist Psychologists, Doctors, Psychotherapists, Peer Support Facilitators and Helpline Workers. We have been helping thousands of children, adolescents and adults in Aotearoa build resilience and recover from anxiety, depression, OCD and phobias. Our organisation is located in St Lukes, Auckland and we offer a free 24/7 National Anxiety Helpline for people across the country. 


Our mission

We aim to improve the recognition of anxiety disorders in Aotearoa, provide treatment and support to people with anxiety related conditions and their families. We do this through the provision of high-quality clinical services, utilising the lived experience of our team, and the dedication and support of volunteer staff. We also advocate for funding and support research into the determinants and treatment of anxiety disorders.


We Offer

  • A Free National 24/7 Helpline 0800 ANXIETY

  • Free Peer Support Groups 

  • Workshops / Courses

  • Community Education  

  • Resiliency Programmes

  • Community Collaboration

  • Volunteer Training and Support 

  • Internship Programme to Support Mental Health Workforce Development

  • Psychological Assessment

  • Therapeutic Interventions Using a Range of Modalities (CBT, ACT, DBT, EMDR etc)

  • Psychiatric Assessment with a Doctor and Medication Monitoring


Our History 

The Phobic Trust of New Zealand Inc. (now The Anxiety New Zealand Trust) was first conceptualised by Marcia Read QSO and the late Mr David Ludbrook. Marcia went on to form the Phobic Trust in 1980. A 24 Hour voluntary phone line was established in 1983 and from this, a trial clinic started in Parnell, with the main St Luke's clinic being created soon afterwards. It was officially incorporated in 1987.


Over her time with the Trust, Marcia’s tireless advocacy helped to create a service user led and pioneering service.


The Trust has evolved as a leader to:


  • Pioneer a New Zealand therapeutic field in the face of indifference, ignorance and opposition

  • Raise conversations about severe funding shortfalls

  • Secure dedicated patrons like the late Sir Robert Muldoon and Sir Edmond Hillary, and including Kylie Bax

  • Organise and host international conferences relating to the treatment of anxiety conditions

  • Write and publish a number of books on anxieties and phobias through the experience and dedication of Marica Read.


Marcia was awarded national validation as a QSO (a single class New Zealand Order) and was a finalist in the 2013 Kiwibank Senior New Zealander of the Year Awards.


Marcia was also involved in the Like Minds Like Mine campaign in October 2000 appearing in television and printed materials. The ‘know me before you judge me’ message was influential in helping reduce stigma and discrimination towards, and for people experiencing mental illness.


Marcia is now taking a well-deserved break and stepped into retirement. 



Professor Robert Kydd - Chairperson


  • Chairperson

  • Professor Emeritus

  • Department of Psychological Medicine University of Auckland.  

Professor Kydd originally became a member of the Board of the Anxiety New Zealand Trust in 2007 to support the trust in its clinical service and advocacy roles for people with anxiety disorders. Professor Kydd brings a wealth of experience in psychiatry at clinical, educational and governmental institutions

Michelle Proudfoot - Trustee

Michelle brings with her over 20 years of experience in banking, finance, business development and relationship building. She also has a passion for helping people and her invaluable advice and support for Anxiety NZ helps us maintain our vital services. 

Alfred Stowers – Trustee

Alfred is a business owner and Director of three businesses within New Zealand and brings with him a wealth of experience in governance and operations management. He has a passion for sport and healthy living and this combination of business experience and love of health and fitness means his dedication and assistance to Anxiety NZ plays a key role in maintaining our services.

Mike Richardson – Trustee

Mike brings a wealth of HR, people leadership and development experience to the position of Board Members at Anxiety New Zealand Trust.

Spike Xie - Trustee

Spike has a degree in I.T. with over 6 years experience in software and architectural organisation. He brings with him a passion for philanthropic work which is fulfilled through his work with Anxiety NZ and other volunteering commitments. Spike helps ensure we maintain culture diversity and connection with the Chinese community.

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Sarah Woollard – Chief Executive Officer

Sarah has worked with Anxiety New Zealand in a number of roles over the last 10 years including working on the helpline. She has a background in Population Health and Epidemiology (BHSc), Public Sector Leadership (PGDip), Business Admin (PGDip) and has completed an MBA in 2018. She combines knowledge of leadership, health systems, policy and management into the mental health arena. She views her lived experience as a family/whanau supporter as a strength that informs her work on a daily basis. She is passionate about removing barriers to mental health support and mental health education in the community.

Goldie Hamilton – Helpline Manager

Goldie joined the Trust as a helpline volunteer several years ago and has been increasingly involved since. She now manages the Anxiety Helpline and a team of 50+ volunteers and on-call clinical support staff. Goldie has a Masters in Health Psychology and prior experience managing adolescent ambulance volunteers and as a first-aid instructor. She enjoys training and supporting helpline volunteers so that their team continues to offer a valuable service.

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Dr. Henry Plant, MBChB – Specialist GP

Dr. Plant Joined the Anxiety New Zealand Trust in December 1997.  He has been in the field of psychiatry for the twenty years and takes a holistic view of mental distress. In addition to addressing the biological aspects of anxiety, phobias and depression he emphasises the importance of staying emotionally and physically healthy. Dr. Plant’s particular interest is in helping people to understand how feelings related to grief, sadness, anger and conflict can underpin anxiety, and therapy is much enhanced if they can learn to be comfortable with those feelings.

Shona Harvey - Clinical Lead (Southern Cross Insurance may apply)

Shona is a Registered Clinical Psychologist and an experienced senior psychologist with over 15 years of practice experience in a variety of settings. She trained at Auckland University principally in psychological assessment and Cognitive Behavioural Therapy and then went to London for 10 years and trained further in Psychodynamic Psychotherapy and Family Systems Therapy at the renowned Tavistock Centre.

She is a member of both the New Zealand and British Psychological Societies and has worked in a Leadership and Management role and a Practitioner role in a large National Counselling organisation. She has worked across the mental health spectrum and more recently with relationships couples and families and with clients presenting with anxiety, depression and/or trauma both long term and recent events.

Jessica Andrews-Smith - Registered Psychologist

Jessica is a registered psychologist with an interest in working with a wide range of people experiencing anxiety, depression, stress management and burnout, life transitions, self-esteem and chronic health issues. She enjoys working with clients from a variety of different cultural backgrounds and ages, from young adults to older adults.

Her focus in treatment is client centred and collaborative - to help each individual to reach new understandings and possibilities within themselves and in their lives, while helping to enhance personal strengths, and build confidence to overcome barriers to happiness. Jessica uses concepts from a variety of evidence based therapies including CBT (Cognitive Behavioural Therapy), ACT (Acceptance and Commitment Therapy), Compassion Focused Therapy and different mindfulness processes depending on the individuals need. Jessica works Thursdays and Fridays at Anxiety New Zealand Trust.

Stephanie Pemberton, Registered Counselling Psychologist & Community Educator

Stephanie is a registered counselling psychologist with a strong interest in the treatment of anxiety disorders. She grew up in Aotearoa, has NZ Euro / Maori ethnicities and has spent time living overseas in Seattle. She is passionate about furthering research into anxiety, as well as assisting in community awareness, destigmatisation and support of people experiencing mental health problems.

Stephanie has trained primarily in Cognitive-Behavioural approaches. She also utilises skills from acceptance commitment therapy, solution focused therapy, mindfulness and compassion-focused therapies.

She believes in using collaborative strengths-based approach. Stephanie is warm and empathetic in enabling and empowering her clients to make positive change. 

Nadine Isler - Psychologist (on leave)

Nadine is now on leave. Nadine is a registered psychologist with a background in Health Psychology, and several years’ experience in the health industry. Her most recent role saw her working with adolescents and adult in a primary-health medical centre, seeing a variety of presentations. She uses a blend of therapeutic modalities, including Cognitive Behavioural, Acceptance and Commitment and Dialectic Behavioural Therapies. She has a particular interest in anxiety and related disorders, and always strives to work in a collaborative and productive way, ensuring that clients feel heard, held, and empowered in a partnership in the therapeutic process.

Janelle ("Jay") Kumar – Referrals Team, Registered Counselling Psychologist - not available for therapy appointments.

Janelle is a registered counselling psychologist who has recently completed her PGDip in Counselling Psychology through AUT University. Janelle grew up in New Zealand and has spent time abroad, living in both Brisbane and Wellington. Janelle has trained primarily in Cognitive-Behavioural approaches, but also utilizes concepts from a range of evidenced-based modalities including compassion-focused therapies, mindfulness and acceptance commitment therapy. She enjoys working with clients from a variety of different cultural backgrounds and ages. Her approach is warm, empathetic and non-judgemental. She focuses on a strengths-based approach for all those who work with her. Janelle believes in looking at the whole person and works to establish a collaborative and supportive therapeutic relationship with all her clients.

Ginni Gulati - Clinical Psychologist (Southern Cross Insurance may apply)

Ginni has worked with people of all age groups belonging to different socio-economic status as well as diverse cultural backgrounds in India and in New Zealand. Ginni has experience working with clients experiencing a wide range of mental health problems such as depression, mood disorders, stress-related problems, anxiety issues, sexual dysfunctions, personality disorders, learning difficulties, sleep problems, teenage issues, eating disorders, emotional trauma, sexual assault, etc.


Ginni has strengths in building a therapeutic alliance with the client, identifying the problem and its severity, and working collaboratively with people while using appropriate treatment interventions to reduce or resolve the symptoms.


Ginni is a highly empathetic professional who tries her best to understand peoples lived experience so as to provide better help to her clients. Her primary motivation to help support people to enjoy an enhanced quality of life to and meet their goals.

Chantel Nixon - Registered Intern Psychologist

Chantel Nixon is a registered intern psychologist with the New Zealand Psychological Society working towards her Postgraduate Diploma in Counselling Psychology through Auckland University of Technology. For this she is doing an internship at Anxiety New Zealand as a part of her training to become a psychologist. Chantel was born in Australia and raised in Aotearoa with a European Niuean background.


She is passionate about working with people from different cultural backgrounds, with an interest in working with Pasifika and Maori. Chantel has trained primarily in Cognitive Behavioural Therapy; she can utilise concepts from a range of evidence-based modalities including acceptance commitment therapy, mindfulness and compassion-focused therapy. Her approach is warm, empathetic, and non-judgemental.

Lyn Birrell – Registered Psychologist

​Lyn is a Registered Psychologist and member of the NZ Psychological Society. She has worked in the mental health field for several years, including tertiary settings (Massey University Health and Counselling Centre) and Private Practice. She has strong interest in the assessment and treatment of all types of anxiety and depression, including PTSD, OCD, panic attacks, low self-esteem, emotional regulation and distress tolerance, insomnia, grief, loss, stress and life transitions. Her goal is to provide therapy that is safe, understandable, collaborative and effective.


She integrates different evidence-based modalities to reach best outcomes for clients.  Modalities might include ACT (Acceptance and Commitment Therapy); CBT (Cognitive Behavioural Therapy); DBT (Dialectical Behaviour Therapy); Compassion–Focused Therapy; Solution Focused Therapy; mindfulness, relaxation training and breath work.  She mainly works with individual adults and is happy to work with clients on either a short or long-term basis, depending on the needs and preferences of the client.

Roger Phillipson – Registered Psychologist

Roger is a registered psychologist in New Zealand and a Chartered psychologist in the United Kingdom. He is also a registered counsellor and member of the New Zealand Association of Counsellors (NZAC). He uses a range of modalities, such as Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT), client centred and narrative therapy and recently completed his studies as a neuroscientist at Victoria University. He has vast experience working predominantly with adults and young people for many years. 

He specialises in complex psychological trauma and suicide prevention and has spent a large part of his career working with young people who have severe and challenging behaviours. Most importantly, he has a warm and client centred psychological approach and he ensures that work with clients will be individually tailored to meet their needs. 

Vikki Baird – Registered Counselling Psychologist

Vikki is a registered Counselling Psychologist, specialising in the areas of anxiety, depression, self-esteem, relationship issues, existential concerns, and career and life path choices. Vikki uses an integrative and collaborative approach to therapy which can include modalities such as CBT, ACT, Psychodynamic approaches, or creative therapies.

Vikki is passionate about providing both short and long term counselling, support, and mentoring. Her previous experience has involved working with adults and youth in a wide range of settings, including her own private practice setting, Youthline face-to-face counselling team, and a community based adult mental health setting. Vikki also has a number of years’ experience facilitating mindfulness based groups for adults and adolescents.

Melissa Cheung– Registered Counselling Psychologist 

Melissa is a registered counselling psychologist who specialises in working with anxiety, depression, low self-esteem, perfectionism, and procrastination. Melissa also works with general anxiety, social anxiety, panic disorder, specific phobias, and hair-pulling and skin-pulling issues. Melissa uses a collaborative and strengths-based approach to therapy by integrating different evidence-based modalities such as cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT), acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT), compassion-focused therapy (CFT), and solutions-focused therapy (SFT).

Melissa enjoys working with adolescents and adults and likes to tailor her approach to suit every individual’s needs. Melissa’s approach is warm, relaxed and non-judgmental and she believes in working with an individual as a whole being. Melissa is passionate about empowering clients by drawing on their unique strengths, exploring effective ways of coping, and supporting clients on their journey to balanced well-being.

Dr Julie Hancock – General Practioner (locum cover)

Dr Hancock provides locum support at times throughout the year. Since obtaining her Diploma in Obstetrics at Waikato Hospital in 1994, she has worked s a General Practitioner in a wide variety of practices including A & E clinics and prison work. Dr Hancock draws on this broad experience in relating to people of all ages, nationalities and backgrounds. She as been working in the inner city of Auckland since 2001 and joined CityMed in 2004 as an associate. 

Julie is a Fellow of the Royal New Zealand College of Vernal Practice and completed the Surgical Skills Training course in 2003. She can provide a full range of GP services including Aotearoa immigration medicals. Her wealth of health care experience provides an invaluable addition to Anxiety New Zealand’s team.

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Charlotte first became involved with Anxiety NZ in April 2018 as a Helpline Volunteer, and joined our front desk team in January 2019. She has completed her Bachelors Degree in Psychology and Philosophy, with aspirations of further studies, and a career in Mental Health. Charlotte is passionate about helping people, and aims to approach everything she does with positivity and compassion for others. 

Brooke - departed in Dec 2020

Anxiety NZ is grateful for Brooke's incredible contributions over four years with the Trust. We wish Brooke all the very best as she moves into a clinical position. We hope to work with you again in the future. 


Brooke joined Anxiety New Zealand in early 2017 as a volunteer supporting callers on the helpline. She now has a duty management role on the helpline and works in reception. Brooke has completed her Honours in Psychology at Massey University and is engaged in a Doctorate in Clinical Psychology. She has a passion to understand human behaviour and to help others. She has experience supporting children with ADHD, autism and anxiety. Brooke understands visiting the Trust for the first time can feel daunting and enjoys supporting clients to feel at ease.


Sam joined Anxiety New Zealand in 2017 through an internship for her Bachelor’s in Psychology and Criminology. After taking a year off, she is back and now completing her Honours in Psychology at AUT University, with the aim of doing her Masters to become a registered psychologist. She is passionate about the study of psychology and mental health, and is committed to helping people in this field. Sam is friendly, and enjoys being a support to the clients at Anxiety NZ Trust.

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Our 2019 -2020 financial statement can be downloaded as a PDF below. We are a registered charity (registered charity number: CC20141) and more information and further financial statements can be found on our page on the Charities Services website.

2019 Audited Accounts

Copyright © 2020 Anxiety New Zealand Trust

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