Mental Health & Wellbeing Support

Brief Intervention Talking Therapy

We work with your general practice team to support your mental health and wellbeing. If you are a patient at any Pegasus Health GP, you may be eligible for Brief Intervention Talking Therapy. Once we receive a referral from your GP, you will be contacted by one of our team.

If you find getting to the appointments difficult (due to transport, location or timing) there is an option to have appointments by telephone. We can refer you to a phone counselling service called Puāwaitanga.

If you have any questions about our service, you can freephone us on 0800 246 099 or email mhtriage@pegasus.org.nz

Crisis Response


Brief Intervention Talking Therapy is a non-urgent service. In an emergency, please contact the following:



  • In an immediate and serious situation when you are concerned for your safety or the safety of those around you, call emergency services on 111

  • If the situation does not require an immediate urgent response, contact Crisis Resolution on 0800 920 092 (24 hours, 7 days a week). This service is provided by Te Whatu Ora Waitaha Canterbury and covers Kaikoura to Ashburton.

What you need to know before attending Brief Intervention Talking Therapy

Brief Intervention Talking Therapy (BITT) is a private and confidential process where you talk with an experienced mental health clinician. They will work with you to find coping strategies that are helpful and lasting. For many people, the most helpful thing about BITT is talking to someone they can trust and come up with a plan.

Clinicians can support you to make behavioural changes. The more you take what was discussed in sessions – and practice it, work at it, or think about it in between sessions – the more you will get out of coming to see us.

Our clinicians are registered professionals and have different backgrounds. If you feel that your clinician is not a good fit for you, you can contact us to discuss.

Taking part in therapy is your own choice and you may withdraw at any time.

Who can access Brief Intervention Talking Therapy?

We offer talking therapy to individuals aged 16 or over, with mild to moderate mental health needs.

There may be circumstances where you are not eligible for BITT, including if you are receiving support from another talking therapy provider or are under Specialist Mental Health Services.

As there is high demand for our service, we encourage you to access support that may be available through your education provider or workplace before considering BITT.

The FACT Model

Clinicians use a brief therapy model called FACT, which stands for Focused Acceptance and Commitment Therapy.

FACT is a model of brief therapy where you focus on accepting feelings for what they are and commit to making realistic changes, that will enable you to get past the feeling of being ‘stuck.’ The FACT approach is to:

  • Accept what you cannot change – you cannot undo your past, but you can learn to hold it gently and not be defined by it
  • Become psychologically flexible – learn to be aware and accepting of the experiences that come into your life while continuing to pursue what you value
  • Identify values and commit to following them – this may require a bold move and ability to stay with any discomfort that shows up

What we offer

  • The first session will be about an hour long. Follow up sessions will be about 30 minutes and take place every 2-4 weeks
  • You can access up to five free sessions
  • Sessions usually take place in person at one of our locations (listed below), but you can have sessions over the phone instead
  • We work with individuals and cannot provide therapy for couples or families
  • Please let us know if you would like to bring a support person. We will try to accommodate support people, however, this may be limited by physical distancing requirements
  • Our clinicians are English speaking; however, interpreter services are available
  • Once you have completed your sessions, you are able to access BITT again after 12 months, with a referral from your GP.

What does it cost?

The service is free to for patients enrolled with a Pegasus Health GP.

Can I have more than five sessions?

Generally, no. The brief intervention model is not designed for ongoing therapy.  If you would like further sessions, you can talk about this with your clinician who can refer you to another service when you finish with us.

Your clinician will not be able to offer you private sessions under the Pegasus service.

Booking an appointment

Once we receive your referral from your GP, our triage team will contact you to discuss your referral and arrange an appointment time. We may suggest a more suitable service to access support through.

  • As referrals often exceed our capacity, there is usually a wait of 3-5 weeks for your first appointment
  • Our clinicians work from different locations in Christchurch and the Canterbury region (see our locations below)
  • We are open Monday to Friday, 8:30 to 5:00pm
  • First appointments are generally scheduled between 9:00am and 3:00pm. Follow-up appointments can be booked between 8:30am and 4:30pm
  • We will send you a text confirming the time and date of the appointment, the clinician you will see and the location you will need to go to (further reminders will not have this location information so make sure you keep this text, so you know where to go)
  • Reminder texts are sent the week before and day before your appointment
  • You can book follow up appointments with your clinician at the end of your session.

Our locations

Our mental health clinicians work from different locations in the community, as well as in some general practices. Directions to our locations are listed below. If you aren’t sure of the location of your appointment, please call our triage team on 0800 246 099.

How to get to 395 Madras Street

How to get to 270A Cranford Street

How to get to 196 Colombo Street

How to get to 128 Riccarton Road

How to get to Halswell Clinic 64 Halswell Road

How to get to 200 King Street Rangiora

How to get to 646 Springston-Rolleston Road

How to get to Kaiapoi Community Centre 24 Sewell Street

How to get to Halswell Community Hub 381 Halswell Road

Your first session

In your first session, you will be asked to complete a consent form and a questionnaire to help us understand how you are feeling.

Your clinician will spend time getting to know you and what you would like to get out of talking therapy.

Missed appointments and cancellations

We understand that things change and at times you may not be able to make your scheduled appointment. The service is popular and our capacity is limited, so to be fair to others:

  • We require a minimum of 24 hours’ notice if you are unable to attend your appointment. You may be offered a phone appointment if you are unable to attend
  • If you cancel less than 24 hours from your appointment time you may lose one of your allocated sessions
  • Two cancellations or two missed appointments will result in you being discharged back to your GP.

24 hours’ notice gives us time to offer that appointment to someone who may need it and increases our options to rebook your appointment.

If your clinician is sick or unavailable, we will contact you to arrange an alternative time.

If we cannot provide regular service, for example, due to COVID-19 restrictions, we will contact you to inform you about alternative arrangements.

Information and storage

  • Your contact details and session notes are stored electronically in a secure internal Patient Management System
  • You have the right to access the personal information we hold concerning you
  • Canterbury District Health Board requests patient information for the purpose of planning health services.

Confidentiality and sharing of information

All interactions with our service including the scheduling of your appointments, your attendance at appointments, the content of your sessions and your records are confidential and won’t be shared without your authorisation.

As this service is an extension of your GP’s service, a summary of the first session will be sent to them and they will be notified when you finish with us.

Clinicians work as part of a team and in consultation with their management. They attend monthly supervision and training to reflect on and share their practice. Your identity will be protected where possible.

Exceptions to confidentiality may occur when:

  • There are serious safety concerns in the immediate or foreseeable future to you or others (e.g., personal safety, family violence and child protection)
  • There are legal requirements that demand that confidential material be revealed.
  • Responding to a complaint about the service.

Giving feedback and making complaints 

We welcome feedback and complaints about the service, our clinicians, or contractors to help us evaluate and improve what we do. All complaints will follow our complaints process.

You may be asked to complete an anonymous survey about your experience of the service.

Where to get help

Your GP is the best person to talk to about your mental health. They will be able to offer advice and point you to other services if needed.

You may be able to access support through your work as some workplaces offer support through Employee Assistance Programmes.

You may be able to access support through your education provider. Universities, polytechnics and some schools provide counselling services to students.

Phone and text services

1737, need to talk? You can call or text 1737 to speak to a trained counsellor, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Lifeline support the emotional and mental wellbeing of callers and communities. Call 0800 543 354 or send a text to 4357 for free, 24/7.

Suicide Crisis Helpline is operated by telephone counsellors with advanced suicide prevention training and is available 24/7. Call 0508 828 865 or visit their website.

Depression Helpline is available 24/7 if you need someone to talk to about the way you are feeling.  You can contact them free by calling 0800 111 757 or send a text to 4202.

Alcohol Drug Helpline provide advice to people who are concerned about their own or someone else’s drinking or drug taking and is available 24/7.  Call 0800 787 797 or text 8681.

OutLine is an all-ages rainbow mental health organisation providing support to the rainbow community, their friends, whānau, and those questioning. You call them on 0800 688 5463 or visit their website.

Healthline. Anyone can call Healthline free on 0800 611 116 for health advice and information, anytime, 24/7.

Apps and online resources

There are lots of free wellbeing apps and online resources to support you.

Mental Health Foundation website has resources to support mental health and wellbeing. https://mentalhealth.org.nz/

MHERC (Mental Health Education & Resource Centre) is a helpful place for other mental health information and services. Visit https://mherc.org.nz/ for more information.

Just A Thought is a free online learning tool to improve mental wellbeing. It is designed for people with mild-to-moderate symptoms of anxiety and depression. https://www.justathought.co.nz/

Mentemia is a free app that gives you tools and techniques to work on and improve you mental wellbeing. https://www.mentemia.com/nz/covid-19

Small Steps is a website that offers digital tools to help people take small steps on their journey to improve wellbeing. https://www.smallsteps.org.nz/

FACE COVID is an eBook by Russ Harris about how to respond effectively to the COVID-19 pandemic. Click here to download.

Other support services

Yellow Brick Road provide support to people nationwide who have a loved one experiencing mental health challenges. https://yellowbrickroad.org.nz/

Positive Psychology & Psychotherapy provide services to children, adolescents, adults, families, and couples. We offer both in-person and online therapy sessions, as well as animal assisted therapy. https://www.positiverelationships.co.nz/

Canterbury Men’s Centre offer services to men in Canterbury, including counselling and support for dads. https://canmen.org.nz/

The Women’s Centre offer resources, counselling and courses to women in Christchurch. http://womenscentre.co.nz/

Hope Community Trust provide community services in Rangiora including counselling and activities. https://www.thehopecommunitytrust.org/

Petersgate offer a low-cost counselling service in Christchurch. https://www.petersgate.org.nz/

The Arahura Centre are a group of counsellors and psychotherapists, who work with individuals, couples, children and youth in Christchurch. https://www.thearahuracentre.co.nz/

Catholic Social Services offer free counselling, social work support, group courses for children and adults in Christchurch. http://css.nzl.org/

Home and Family provide early intervention and wrap-around support to children and young people and their parents/caregivers and whānau in Christchurch. https://www.homeandfamily.net.nz/

MHAPS (Mental Health Advocacy and Peer Support) is free and confidential for anyone experiencing mental distress and/or an addiction. https://mhaps.org.nz/

Canterbury Charity Hospital Trust provides free counselling services in Christchurch. https://charityhospital.org.nz/counselling-consultations/

For more options for support in Canterbury you can visit the MHERC website: https://mherc.org.nz/

Support for young people

Manu Ka Rere is a free mental health service for young people aged 13-24 who are seeking support for their wellbeing in Canterbury. https://www.manukarere.org.nz/

Youthline support young people between 12-24 years who are struggling with mental health or other issues. You can freephone 0800 376 633, free text 234 or webchat at www.youthline.co.nz

The Lowdown are an experienced group of counsellors who can help you figure out what you are feeling and find the best way to help you. They’re available 24/7. You can contact them by text on 5626 or by email/webchat via their website: https://thelowdown.co.nz/

SPARX looks like a game but it’s a self-help tool for rangatahi with mild to moderate depression. https://www.sparx.org.nz/home

0800 What’ Up? is a free counselling helpline and webchat service for children and teenagers. You can call on 0800 942 8787 or chat online. https://whatsup.co.nz/