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Phobic Trust fights to fund “unique” service

May 24th, 2012 | By | Category: Front Page Layout, Latest News, News

THE Phobic Trust has an online petition to have health board funding for its Wellington clinic reinstated.

The trust, which helps people with phobias, believes the clinic in Newtown provides a specialist service that is unique to the region.

The pilot programme with Capital and Coast District Health Board funding began in 2008,but in 2010 the contract was not renewed.

The review that took place at the time was comprehensive, says Lindsay Davis, senior communications advisor for health board.

“It established that the services the Trust offered could be effectively provided by Capital & Coast’s existing services, or in primary care,” Mr Davis says.

However, Marcia Read, founder and CEO of the Phobic Trust, says that even though there is better public awareness now, many phobic conditions remain undiagnosed.

“There are still a lot of silent sufferers out there”.

Marcia has experienced agoraphobia, which is fear of public places or of leaving a safe place.

Her experience in seeking treatment and finding a lack of services and support in Auckland led to the establishment of the Trust.

A phobia – from the Greek word phobos, meaning fear or morbid fear- is where a person’s normal fears become disproportionate to any likelihood of danger.

The Phobic Trust’s website says it is estimated that up to 25% of the population are likely to be affected by an anxiety disorder or phobia.

A phobic condition can severely limit a person’s social activity and impede their ability to participate in work and education.

The trust was established in February, 1983, and incorporated in 1987 under the Charities Act.

One of the things that concerns Marcia most is the heredity factor.

“Sometimes a parent has the disorder and they haven’t acknowledged it in themselves then refuse to recognise it in the child.

“It’s frustrating to see young people who are unable to reach their potential because of it.”

In 2000, Marcia’s book Scary Thoughts, illustrated by Peter Bromhead, was published.

The book was written for 11-12 year olds and their families.

The trust received donations that enabled the book to be distributed to all intermediate and secondary schools throughout the country.

The Wellington clinic opened in 2001, the same year that the first National Anxiety Awareness Week Appeal was held.

The Trust provides a nationwide 24 hour helpline and regular support groups and workshops in both Wellington and Auckland.

There has also been involvement in many research projects including a recent study into the correlation between phobic disorders and drug and alcohol abuse.
On its website, the Trust declares its mission to strive for “a world where anxiety disorders carry no stigma and sufferers are not afraid to speak out and seek help for fear of being labeled stupid, weak or crazy”.

More information about the Phobic Trust can be found on the website phobic.org.nz or by calling the Wellington Clinic 04 245 0012 or the helpline 0800 14 ANXIETY

Caption- Moving From the Shadows: Artwork by a former Phobic Trust client

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