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An evidence-based program initiated at The University of Queensland (UQ) to help prevent and treat anxiety in children between the ages of eight and 17 is now available online.

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

Parents can complete the program together with, or independently of, their child to learn ways to help their children manage anxiety.

The BRAVE program was developed by researchers from UQ, Griffith University and The University of Southern Queensland in consultation with UniQuest, and is funded by beyondblue.

UQ researcher Professor Justin Kenardy said the self-paced program was fun, interactive and easy to use.

“Trials and evaluation of the BRAVE program have shown young people who use it notice a significant improvement in their anxiety, and many are able to overcome their worries,” he said.

UniQuest CEO Dr Dean Moss said the collaboration between UniQuest, beyondblue, and the BRAVE team had resulted in a product that had a strong community benefit.

“It is wonderful to see the transfer of cutting-edge Queensland research expertise in a program that will have positive impacts for a very real issue,” he said.

beyondblue CEO Georgie Harman said the organisation had supported the BRAVE team with $500,000 in funding to convert the program from a one-on-one therapist-led program to a self-directed therapy program.

“We think this is a really worthwhile investment because anxiety can make it hard for children and young people to cope with day-to-day life," she said.

“If left undiagnosed and untreated, anxiety conditions can persist or worsen as children grow into adults.

“Many anxiety symptoms go unrecognised by adults who come to believe, for example, that panicky feelings and constant worrying are part of their personality.

“Not everyone across Australia has equal access to services, so this will be of great benefit to people living in rural and regional areas, as well families in metro areas."

Go to www.brave4you.psy.uq.edu.au or www.beyondblue.org.au for more information or to access the program.

Media: UniQuest, Anne Bannister, 07 3365 4037, a.bannister@uniquest.com.au or Professor Justin Kenardy, 07 3346 4859,j.kenardy@uq.edu.au