and Treating Anxiety in Children and
children and young people to flourish’
and Fun Friends programmes help children and teenagers cope with feelings
of fear, worry, and depression by teaching cognitive, behavioural, and emotional
skills in a simple, well-structured format. Based on Cognitive Behaviour Therapy
the programmes enable children and young people to learn about the links between
their thoughts, feelings and behaviour. In teaching specific skills the
programmes successfully contribute to the development of emotionally resilient
children and young people who cope well with the challenges that occur
throughout their daily lives- children who listen to and learn from their peers
and successfully problem solve in the social and emotional world.
Evidence shows how important it is to work preventatively and intervene early in
the area of emotional well-being. If left unattended, anxiety difficulties often
continue into adulthood, sometimes leading to depression.
Developed in Australia, the programme is used in schools and clinic settings
throughout the world. FRIENDS is the only school based anxiety programme
acknowledged by the World Health Organization for its twelve years of
comprehensive evaluation and practice. (WHO, Prevention of Mental Disorders:
Effective Interventions and Policy Options pp 42-43 2004)
FRIENDS is based on a wealth of research and practical experience in
thousands of classrooms. Evidence has shown that children with normal levels of
worry benefit by acquiring resilience to emotional stress, additionally,
exposing children with high anxiety levels to a complete FRIENDS program can
reduce their risk of developing serious debilitating anxiety disorders.
FRIENDS is run by a school’s own teachers and does not involve clinical
assessment or diagnosis. It therefore avoids labeling children as anxious or
different. FRIENDS is consistently described as a rewarding teaching
experience that encourages the sharing of positive emotions. Students also say
they enjoy the programme and find it helpful in their day-to-day lives. Friends
sits particularly well with the SEAL programme, adding a specific structured
element of skill teaching to the curriculum.
The FRIENDS and Fun Friends materials have 3 age-sensitive
versions focusing on children and young people between the ages of 4-17years. In
each FRIENDS session, students are guided through a series of class-based
activities designed to teach them how to deal with worrying situations. There
are also optional home activities to complete between sessions. Parents have an
opportunity to support their children and learn more about FRIENDS
themselves by attending two parent sessions arranged by the school.
Before starting a FRIENDS or Fun Friends programme, teachers,
teaching assistants and other key staff attend a one-day group-training
workshop. Dr. Caroline Smith, Specialist Consultant Educational Psychologist,
delivers these workshops regularly. Caroline is an accredited training partner
of the Pathways Health and Research Centre and has been trained in Australia
where she worked with Pathways staff.
Caroline prefers to deliver FRIENDS and/or Fun Friends to groups
of staff who work in the same geographical area. In this way groups of teachers,
teaching assistants, psychologists and home tutors can work together to make a
real difference in their locality.
To discuss organising FRIENDS and/or Fun Friends training
workshops in your area please contact:
Caroline on firstname.lastname@example.org or phone on
+44 (0)1636 636060
For further information about the programme in general:
2008 UK evaluation - The impact of the FRIENDS Programme on children’s anxiety,
low mood and self esteem: a replication study in a Scottish setting.
Dr Jenni Barr, Principal Psychologist at
Stirling Council Educational Psychology Service delivered this report to the
Scottish Government as part of a three-year contract to promote, research and
offer training in FRIENDS across Scotland.
The research team were Dr Ian Liddle and
Introduction to FRIENDS booklet
FRIENDS - Evidence base Abstracts
Evaluating the FRIENDS programme in a Scottish setting
Published in Educational
Psychology in Practice March 2010
References in the area of Childhood Anxiety & Emotional Wellbeing
with thanks to Dr. Paul Stallard
If you do not have Adobe Acrobat reader
for PDF files click the logo for the free download
Please visit the FRIENDS web site at www.pathwayshrc.com.au
Barrett, P.M.(2001) Interventions for Child and Youth Anxiety Disorders:
Involving Parents, Teachers and Peers. School of Applied Psychology, Griffith
University, Gold Coast Campus.