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Keeping The Phobic Trust Service Running

15 February 2011

Keeping The Phobic Trust Service Running

Dear New Zealanders,

We urgently need your support to keep our service running in Wellington.

I am the CEO and Founder of the Phobic Trust which I set up 30 years ago to treat anxiety disorders. This includes offering group and individual treatment for anxiety, panic disorder, phobias (including agoraphobia and social phobia), and OCD (including obsessive thinking and hoarding). We also have a 24-hour 0800 phone line for people in distress.

Anxiety disorders are very common in New Zealand with 24% of the population estimated to suffer from them. Many people live successful lives with anxiety, but our expertise over the years has been in working with people with the most severe forms of these disorders. These are people for whom anxiety is debilitating and incapacitating. It prevents them from developing close relationships, stops them from going to work or school, severely interfering with their lives and the lives of the people close to them.

Eighteen months ago the former CEO of Capital Coast District Health Board saw a need for our service in Wellington and invited us to open a clinic in Newtown. We were given a one-year contract to see thirty-two people with severe anxiety on the understanding we would have a right of renewal for a further two (three?) years. We needed this stability in order to attract and keep the highly specialised staff that treatment of anxiety disorders requires.

Unfortunately the CEO of CCDHB resigned last year. The new Acting CEO and CCDHB funders were under pressure to cut costs and refused to renew our contract, arguing that the people we have seen were not severely enough disabled. This is not the experience of the people who have been able to benefit from our service even in the brief time we have worked with them. Nor is it the opinion of our very experienced specialised psychologists and psychiatrist.

We believe the service is needed. We have been told the only way to demonstrate this is for people to tell the DHB it is needed. You can do this by going to our website and sign the petition.…


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