We are a non-profit, registered charity. Our 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. 



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Janelle Kumar
Vikki Baird
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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.

Xavier Chiang - Registered Clinical Psychologist

Xavier is a clinical psychologist registered in New Zealand, Australia, and Taiwan. He recently completed a Ph.D. in the Department of Psychological Medicine at the University of Auckland. His Ph.D. work focused on youth mental health and psychological therapy. Previously trained in clinical psychology at Palo Alto University, California, America, he has worked in a wide range of clinical settings including correctional facility, psychiatric hospitals, community mental health centres, university counselling centres, and substance abuse treatment programmes. Xavier has an eclectic therapeutic approach that primarily includes mindfulness-based Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) with a take on psychodynamic perspective. He can provide services in English and Mandarin.


Areas of Special Interest

Depression, Anxiety, Obsessive-Compulsive Disorders (OCDs), 

Psychological stress or trauma related issues.

Concerns of ethnic minority and immigrants. LGBT wellbeing.

Forensic psychology.

江思穎是在紐西蘭與台灣均有註冊合格的臨床心理師,奧克蘭大學博士 ,他的
博士論文探討在新西蘭的種族少數與性取向或性別認同少數之青年人的心理 健康需求。
過去曾在美國加州的帕羅奧圖大學就讀臨床心理學,並在台灣,美國,和紐西 蘭各種類
型的臨床院所工作,例如精神科醫院、社區心理衛生中心、大學諮商中心,物質 濫用治
療所,與焦慮症診所。他的主要治療取向為認知行為治療,同時也參考了心理動力 學派
的觀點。他可以用中文 (普通話)和英文提供服務。在閒暇之餘,他享受與家人朋友相 聚的


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. 

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.

Chantel Nixon - Registered Counselling Psychologist

Chantel Nixon is a registered counselling 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.

James  Evans-McLeod - Registered Psychologist

James has over twelve years experience in child, adolescent, family, and school-based anxiety services. 

After graduating with First Class Honours from The University of Waikato (2008) he continued education in Australia at Central Queensland University (2009) before completing his internship with 'Bushkids' child development centre in the remote Australian town of Mt Isa (2010-2012). He then joined the Department of Education and Early Childhood Development in Melbourne overseeing student wellbeing across 6 state schools (2012-2015), before moving on to a prep to final year private school of 1300 students in the Gold Coast (2015-2021)

Across these roles, anxiety concerns were a consistent referral base and encompassed practice across broad age ranges and presentations, inclusive of stakeholder engagement and psychoeducation.

He has completed extensive development with anxiety disorders, incorporating multiple frames work (cognitive behaviour therapy, acceptance and commitment therapy, motivational interviewing) including ongoing one-on-one supervision with Dr Louise Hayes and Dr Stan Steindl. 

Further experience in youth mental health and education services, research, and disability services can be viewed on James’ Linkedin.

Kelly Ty - Registered Counselling Psychologist

Kelly is a registered counselling psychologist and has recently completed her PGDip in Counselling Psychology at the Auckland University of Technology. Kelly grew up in New Zealand with a Vietnamese background. 


Kelly utilises evidence based approaches to support clients reach their therapy goals. She has mainly trained in Acceptance and Commitment Therapy and integrates strategies from Cognitive Behaviour Therapy and Compassion Focused Therapy into her practice.

Kelly is passionate about supporting her clients with a warm, non-judgmental, and collaborative approach. Her areas of interest are anxiety, depression, Asian mental health, and trauma.

Anastasia Dailianis – Registered Psychologist 

Anastasia is a registered psychologist practicing in the counselling psychology scope. She practices predominantly from the Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) approach integrating techniques from mindfulness and meditation, self-compassion, Compassion Focussed Therapy (CFT), and Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT). She also has a strong interest in eco-anxiety as the growing climate crisis causes more and more people to become worried about the future.

Anastasia’s warmth and genuine compassion underpins her work as she seeks to connect with people of all ages and cultural backgrounds, supporting them to overcome their challenges and flourish in their daily lives.

She has a family with two children aged 13 and 10 years old, and has a varied background working in theatre, major events and the public sector, before completing her training as a psychologist.

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.

Cherry Kura – Counselling Psychologist Intern

Cherry is a registered intern psychologist with the New Zealand Psychologists Board. She has grown up in Aotearoa New Zealand and identifies with her Indian heritage. Cherry is interning at Anxiety New Zealand whilst working towards a full registration as a counselling psychologist. Cherry is currently studying at the Auckland University of Technology to complete her Post Graduate Diploma in Counselling Psychology.

Cherry has a varied background working and volunteering in the fields of delivering mental health support through the Anxiety Helpline, assisting in diversity and inclusion research and training, co-facilitating South Asian cultural identity development groups, and mentoring students in tertiary education. All of these areas have crafted her passion to work with diverse individuals and communities and promote psychological wellbeing. 


Cherry utilises evidence-based therapeutic modalities of Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) and Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) to work alongside her clients. She also frequently draws on principles and techniques from the fields of mindfulness, meditation, self-compassion and Compassion Focused Therapy (CFT). Cherry works from a strengths-based, empathetic and culturally safe approach to support clients towards a path of holistic growth and flourishment. 

Ian Gutteridge – Counselling Psychologist Intern

Ian strives to understand a person as a whole. He assists people with discovering or reconnecting with the important elements of their lives as they progress with their wellbeing journey. Ian embodies a sense of authenticity and empathy as he connects and works with clients. He has predominately trained in Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT), as well as Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT), and has a strong interest in mindfulness and compassion-focussed therapies. Some of Ian’s other interests include anxiety, Telehealth therapy and LGBTIQ+ issues.


Currently registered as an Intern Psychologist, Ian is working with Anxiety New Zealand to obtain his full registration as a Counselling Psychologist with the New Zealand Psychologist Board, Te Poari Kaimātai Hinengaro o Aotearoa. After emigrating from England in 2010, Ian has lived in Wellington and now resides in Auckland. He is completing his training as a Psychologist at Auckland University of Technology (AUT).



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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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Jessie - Client Liaison Support

Jessie started with Anxiety New Zealand in 2017 as a Helpline volunteer and has just recent joined the clinic team in 2021. She has completed her Bachelor of Science with a double major in Psychology and Exercise Sciences and went on to complete her Masters in Clinical Exercise Physiology in 2020. Jessie is passionate about helping people live life to the fullest, via adopting healthy lifestyle choices to influence both mental and physical wellbeing.

Partha - Peer Support Group Facilitator

Partha is a master’s candidate in Health Psychology with a keen interest to explore men’s experiences in mental health. He is originally from India but now calls New Zealand home. After 4 years in the corporate world, Partha realised that his interests lie in helping people come to terms with their lived experiences. He first became involved with Anxiety New Zealand as a volunteer on the helpline and currently co-facilitates the Northshore peer support group for people with lived experiences of anxiety. Partha aspires to register as a psychologist and hopes to use his experiences in normalising mental health conversations in his community.

Jacob - Helpline Administrator

Jacob began his involvement with Anxiety NZ in early 2020 as a member of the Anxiety Helpline. He has a strong commitment to ensuring that both callers and volunteers are well-supported by the service. Outside of the Helpline, Jacob is an honours student at Massey University studying psychology and works in Community Corrections.

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Sarah Woollard
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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 – National Manager

Goldie joined the Trust as a helpline volunteer in 2013 and has been increasingly involved since. In 2016 she began managing the Anxiety Helpline which now includes over 80 volunteers and on-call support staff throughout New Zealand. She has a Masters in Health Psychology and prior experience managing adolescent ambulance volunteers and as a first-aid instructor. Goldie enjoys training and supporting the helpline team and other professionals and community members across Aotearoa and is passionate about spreading awareness and increasing anxiety management skills within the community.

Samantha Heaney - Clinic Manager

Sam joined Anxiety New Zealand in 2017 through an internship for her Bachelor’s in Psychology and Criminology. She has since worked for the Trust as part of the administration team and is now our Clinic Manager. She completed her Honours in Psychology in 2020, and is now starting her PhD, with the intention of becoming a registered psychologist in the future. Sam is passionate about the study of psychology and mental health, and is committed to helping people in this field. She understands that seeking mental health support is an important step, and believes in the importance removing barriers to accessing support and providing education to communities. She believes in the work that Anxiety NZ does, and enjoys being part of an organisation that supports individuals in this way.





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. 


Ruby joined Anxiety New Zealand earlier this year (2021) as part of the Administration Team. Ruby is originally from Kenya and has grown up in both the United States and Aotearoa. She has completed her Honours and Masters in Psychology at the University of Auckland and is continuing her studies towards becoming a Registered Psychologist. Ruby is passionate about child and adolescent mental health as well as the experiences of individuals from diverse cultural backgrounds. She has previous experience in mental health administration and aims to make each client feel supported and understood.

Melissa (Mel)

Melissa first joined Anxiety NZ in early 2020 as a helpline volunteer, later joining the administrative team the following year in 2021. Melissa is currently finishing her bachelor's degree in Psychology and Sustainability. She is passionate about creating an environment of support and awareness surrounding the topic of mental health. Connecting people with the resources they deserve is her priority and she approaches her work in the clinic with this mentality. She aspires to provide care and create positive change to benefit others in her future career choices.


Simoné completed her Honours in Psychology in 2020 and has aspirations of continuing her studies to become a Registered Psychologist and pursue a career in Mental Health. Simoné is passionate about Mental Health within the Justice and Policy Sector and is interested in the approach of Mental Health within the community. She is friendly and approachable and aims to make clients feel supported and at ease.

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Reena Mehta - Fundraising Manager

Reena joined the team in 2021 and brings over 20 years of experience working in the non-for profit sector in the UK and New Zealand. She has worked for a number of different national organisations and helped them to achieve their financial and strategic targets across the health sector. She is passionate about mental wellbeing and improving outcomes for vulnerable communities.

Victoria Vajda McNab - Community Engagement and

Communications Manager

Victoria joined the organisation in early 2021 to enhance our communication and community engagement reach. She is a values-driven professional with over ten years’ experience in communications across the not-for-profit and private sectors. She has worked in New Zealand, Brazil and Argentina with communications, community development and fundraising. She is keen on supporting our community, reducing stigma and normalising talking about mental health.



Our latest 2021 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.

2021 Audited Accounts