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HealthInfo Canterbury

Getting help with anxiety

Whai āwhina mō te mānawanawa

If self-help techniques and lifestyle changes alone haven't helped you feel better, you should look for support from a health professional.

Start by talking to your general practice team or other health professional about how you're feeling. They can help with treatment ideas and options to best suit you.

Often, a combination of treatments with self-help and lifestyle changes works best.

Online therapy

Consider doing an online course. This can help you understand your illness and give you options to try to reduce your anxiety.

Talking therapy (psychological treatments)

Cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) is the recommended talking therapy for anxiety. It aims to teach you to manage thoughts, feelings and behaviours so you can respond in a better way to anxiety.

A psychologist, counsellor or BIS worker can provide talking therapy and emotional support.

Your general practice team can help you find a therapist or refer you for some free counselling. You can find a counsellor, therapist or psychiatrist in the Family Services Directory. The Mental Health Education and Resource Centre (MHERC) can also help. Some therapy options will cost but your general practice team can talk through the approximate cost with you.



Medication is used to help some people with anxiety. It's best used with other treatments such as talking therapies or self-help courses that can help make long-lasting changes.

Specialist therapists

A community support worker can help you with many difficulties you might be having in day-to-day life. These can include managing household tasks, finances and relationships.

Other health professionals can help with mental health including physiotherapists, occupational therapists and dietitians.

Te Whatu Ora – Health New Zealand Waitaha Canterbury's Specialist Mental Health Services (including the Anxiety Disorders Outpatient Unit)

Te Whatu Ora Waitaha Specialist Mental Health Service is the major provider of mental health services in Canterbury. You'll need a referral from your general practice team to see the Anxiety Disorders Team, which is for people with severe anxiety problems.

Community support groups

In Canterbury, you can find a support group by contacting one of the following groups:

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On the next page: Supporting someone with anxiety

Written by HealthInfo clinical advisers. Last reviewed May 2023.


See also:

Medications for mental health issues

Reading in Mind book scheme

Relaxation techniques

Page reference: 50600

Review key: HIAXA-50595