People living with an anxiety disorder have somewhere to turn for help in Sydney from next month.

The Mental Health Association NSW has launched 10 new self-help groups to assist people with the, often crippling, condition.

CEO Elizabeth Priestley said LGBTI people may be particularly at risk of anxiety disorder, with research showing rates of depression and anxiety disorders are higher in than the general population.

“These groups have proven to be very successful in helping people with social anxiety, panic attacks, specific phobias and obsessive compulsive disorder,” Priestley said.

“Around one in seven Australians will be affected by an anxiety disorder at some point in their lives, but the good news is that recovery is possible when people get the right help.”

The 2012 La Trobe University study Private Lives 2 (PL2) of more than 4000 LGBT people showed 80 percent of participants had experienced at least one episode of intense anxiety in the previous 12 months.

More than a quarter of respondents had been diagnosed with, or treated for, an anxiety disorder during that same time.

The Mental Health Association groups will be based on a 12-week self-treatment behaviour therapy program and will take place in Redfern, Glebe, Surry Hills, Edgecliff and Five Dock.

“The groups are run in the style of a self-treatment … meaning participants will determine their own goals and be given the opportunity to develop workable solutions to deal with their anxieties,” Redfern group facilitator Sharon Stevenson said.

“The groups also offer a safe, non-judgemental environment for people to share their experiences of anxiety and help build self-esteem and confidence.”

INFO: The groups are free and start in late July, early August. Call Linda on (02) 9339 6093.

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