SUPPORT NETWORK: USQ researcher Luka Byrne, Senior Project Officer (Psychology) Gemma Bettens and senior lecturer Sonja March.
SUPPORT NETWORK: USQ researcher Luka Byrne, Senior Project Officer (Psychology) Gemma Bettens and senior lecturer Sonja March.

Self-help program help kids be BRAVE

A SELF-HELP project that runs from University of Southern Queensland (USQ) Springfield has helped thousands of children and teenagers struggling to overcome anxiety.

The BRAVE program, which was trialled and evaluated over 13 years, is a free online self-help course that allows young people and their parents to seek support for anxiety in the comfort of their own homes.

Developed by a team of researchers from USQ, the University of Queensland, and Griffith University, and supported by beyondblue, the program, which uses Cognitive Behaviour Therapy techniques, has had more than 7000 registrations since the website went live 12 months ago.

Parents can also take part in a separate program to learn ways to help their children manage anxiety.

USQ researcher and senior lecturer Sonja March said the response from young people using the program had been positive.

"Youth engaging with the program tell us that they enjoy the confidential nature of the program and find that it helps them manage their anxiety," she said.

Dr March said anxiety can make it hard for children and young people to cope with day-to-day life and left untreated can persist or worsen as they grow into adults.

She felt improving support for Australia's younger generations is a matter of priority and having an online service made sense as it is a natural space for them to be in, and to communicate in.

"An online program may make it easier to prevent and treat anxiety in many more young Australians," Dr March said.

"The program is fun, interactive and can be completed at the participant's own pace.

"All that young people with anxiety need to access the treatment program is a computer or tablet and the internet."

Children and young people with anxiety between the ages of eight and 17 (and their parents) are invited to register and use the BRAVE program.

For more information, or to access the program, visit http://www.brave4you.psy.uq.edu.au.



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