Find a GP or counsellor

How to find a doctor or mental health professional

Please note that the Mental Health Foundation does not recommend particular organisations or individuals, but provides information to help you to make your own choice.

If you feel unwell your best starting point is usually your GP (family doctor). GPs are trained to assess, treat and manage many mental health issues within primary care (the community rather than in a hospital). Your GP can refer you to your local community mental health service or elsewhere if needed. or they may be able to manage your illness themselves.

If you need help to find a GP, there are several ways to do this. You can:


Other providers

Local Community Mental Health Service (provided by district health boards)
Contact details are in the front of the phone book under Hospitals and Other Health Service Providers. There may be specialist Maori, Pacific Island, Adult, Older Persons and Child & Adolescent services. You will usually need to be referred by your GP. 

Local Women's and Men's Centres
These may have lists of recommended local health professionals


Unhappy with your current doctor?

You are entitled to see another doctor for a second opinion. It's important to find a doctor you are happy with, so shop around.

NZ Medical Association − Unhappy with your Healthcare?
A good outline of what steps to take if you are unhappy with the service or care you have received.

Health and Disability Services Consumers' Code of Rights

Health and Disability Commissioner 0800 11 22 33
If you feel your rights have been infringed and would like to lay a complaint.


How to find a therapist or mental health professional

Please note the Mental Health Foundation does not recommend particular organisations or individuals, but can provide information to help you to make your own choice.

There are several ways to access a counsellor:

  • You can search through Healthpages to find private psychiatrists practicing nationwide.
  • To find low cost or free counselling in your area, search the Family Services Directory, or contact your local CAB.
  • Most GPs are part of Primary Health Organisations (PHOs) that run Government funded mental health programmes − often you can access free counselling sessions through these.
  • If you are in paid employment you may be able to access free confidential counselling through your company’s employee assistance programme – talk to your employer.
  • You may be eligible for 10 free counselling sessions (or more if clinically indicated) and other assistance through a WINZ Disability Allowance.
  • Free Youthline counselling for youth aged 12–25 years and their families. Available in various locations across Auckland and also Dunedin. Counselling for adults is available on a sliding scale.
  • If you have experienced sexual abuse or assault you may be eligible for ACC support to pay for therapy with a clinical psychologist or psychotherapist: 0800 735 556. Ask your GP about making a Sensitive Claim.
  • Local women's or men's centres often have counsellors on site or can provide recommendations, some of whom are low cost/charges are on a sliding-scale.
  • Local DHB Community Mental Health Services provide community based support, psychological therapy, counselling and psychiatrist services. Services are for those who meet mental illness criteria and you will usually need to be referred by your GP. Contact details are in the front of the phone book under 'Hospitals and Other Health Service Providers'.
  • Yellow Pages – look under Counselling ServicesPsychotherapy & Psychology 
  • Talking Works Directory of counsellors, psychologists and psychotherapists.
  • Colleges and professional organisations

  • University psychology centres
    • School of Psychology at Massey University offers psychology services direct to the public at each of its campuses to facilitate postgraduate student training and to conduct research. Auckland – Centre for Psychology, Albany; Palmerston North – Turitea Psychology Clinic; Wellington – Psychology Clinic, Wellington Campus.
    • Victoria Psychology Clinic provides a range of psychological services to public in Wellington; the Clinic is a teaching-based facility for the School's clinical psychology programme.
    • Clinical Psychology Centre, University of Otago (Dunedin) is a training centre for students in the Clinical Psychology Training Programme. First appointments are arranged following a referral from a general practitioner/health professional/teacher.
    • AUT University Psychotherapy Clinic offers high quality, affordable psychotherapy that is open to the public at AUT's Psychotherapy Clinic at their North Shore campus.

Tips on how to choose a counsellor that suits you

See Webhealth's Linkage Tips for Choosing a Counsellor


Talking therapies

Read Te Pou's  A Guide to Talking Therapies in New Zealand