Anxiety New Zealand Trust

IMAGE: Our Community Education Intern Krista, Helpline Manager Goldie and Community Education Liaison Jay with our therapy cat who lives at the clinic. Between them they visited hundreds of community groups and individuals with the support of ProCare Charitable Foundation.


Raising Awareness and Understanding of Anxiety and Depression

With the support of Procare Charitable Foundation, Anxiety New Zealand Trust developed and delivered a Community Education Project to encourage supportive relationships between health providers and the community, to encourage earlier access to mental health support & engage in healthy wellbeing practices, increase awareness and understanding of anxiety and depression, and reduce stigma and discrimination around mental illness with a focus on lower-socio economic groups and youth.

We employed a fixed term Community Education Liaison (CEL) and recruited two fulltime unpaid interns (from the USA and Mandarin speaking) to support the CEL and project. The Community Education Project has reached hundreds of healthcare professionals and provided face to face meeting with GP practices, dental practices, pharmacies and counsellors at both Auckland University and AUT University. The CEL provided education and advice sessions with parents of children who experienced anxiety, provided resources surrounding anxiety including information packs and brief intervention strategies for young people and their caregivers.

Another facet of the Community Education Project, was the Ni Hao Initiative, which sought to reduce the stigma and discrimination involved in Mandarin communities when seeking support for psychological services. We met or spoke with 107 GP Practices and their staff and sent resources in Mandarin to 52 Chinese Community Groups and Organisations and Businesses (supplying information on wellness strategies, access to services and to reduce stigma and discrimination).

The third tier of the Community Education Project, was to educate health practitioners who in turn had contact with low income and ethnically diverse populations. A highlight was two members of our clinical team provided training at an event held for GP’s within the ADHB locality, on the topic of anxiety, its presentations and treatment in both a psychological and medical model. Over 70 GP’s attended, all of whom were offered clinical information and resources for their clinicians and their clients.

The project also promoted organisational learning for our 50 help line volunteers who field 800 calls per month and 12 staff who support 3000 1:1 appointments per year. The CEL offered additional training for all staff on support for Maori and Pacific Island communities and youth and this opened conversations about how we as an organisation can continue to develop and support the community in a sustainable way.

The response has been overwhelming and Anxiety New Zealand Trust is experiencing a high demand for education in the community. We would like to sincerely thank everyone at ProCare Charitable Foundation for their support, generosity and vision in supporting the project.