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How getting to grips with your anxiety issues will soon just be a click away

TV's Anna Richardson has launched an online therapy service to help mental health sufferers find help when they are in need

By Liz Connor

The UK's first 24-hour therapy service has finally arrived and it's all thanks to TV presenter Anna Richardson.

Mindbox aims to help people who are struggling to get treatment on the NHS. Anna, who presents Channel 4's Naked Attraction, says she decided to launch it after feeling "frustrated" with the level of therapy available to the general public.

"If you're suffering from severe anxiety, waiting 10 weeks to access any kind of service can be a life sentence," says Anna.

"The only other option is that you have to pay for your psychotherapy, which can be very expensive.

"Mindbox offers a much-needed solution between the two, making therapy affordable and accessible for everybody."

The website allows people to talk to 20 therapists with different specialisms - from abuse to bereavement and panic attacks to sleep disorders - either by phone, webcam or webchat.

It's the first service of its kind to offer 24-hour, round-the-clock therapy. Whatever time of day a person might need help, they can simply log on and start chatting.

Anna, who is the partner of former Bake Off presenter Sue Perkins, has spoken openly about her own experiences with mental health. She suffered from anxiety for many years and says her maternal grandmother committed suicide.

After finally resolving her own anxiety issues, Anna decided to train as a cognitive hypnotherapist.

Helping hand: Anna Richardson is the brains behind Mindbox

She says: "I met some amazing therapists during that time and between us we thought, 'There is such a crisis in mental health services at the moment, we need to plug that gap between drastically underfunded NHS resources and private therapy'."

The TV host (47) has self-funded the project alongside two other trained cognitive hypnotherapists.

As well as live support available at all times, there's an additional Mindbox service which gives users access to self-guided programmes focusing on five key areas: general stress, social anxiety, performance nerves, panic attacks and confidence.

There are more than 40 therapy techniques that users can do in their own time. Each video focuses on a different technique and once downloaded, users can play each video again and again.

The team have already trialled the website with 50 volunteers and report that the feedback so far has been "overwhelmingly positive".

"Virtually 100% of our users say they feel better in as little as one week, which is fantastic," says Anna.

As well as the NHS, she believes schools and offices could also benefit from utilising Mindbox's services in the future.

"We're so proud of the fact we've got this resource now, so if you need help, you can get it - and it is affordable," she says.

"This is the future of therapy, providing the best care, when, where and how it's needed the most.

"You can receive therapy from the privacy of your own home or office - and all for less than a daily cup of coffee."

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