Beating back to school anxiety

Back to school can be hard for children and parents, particularly children who struggle with shyness.

The BRAVE Team are again seeking participants for the BRAVE-ONLINE program, specifically, children with social anxiety (and their parents) between the ages of 8 and 12. This program aims to help both children and parents learn strategies for managing social anxiety and find ways to cope with anxiety provoking social situations.

“Social anxiety, fear of embarrassment in front of others, or extreme shyness, is one of the most common types of anxiety experienced by children,” says Dr Caroline Donovan from Griffith’s School of Psychology and Behavioural Basis of Health. “As children interact in day-to-day school and social settings, a number of them are likely to experience some social anxiety. Something as seemingly simple as starting the new school year may be enough to trigger these feelings.”

Developed by a team of researchers who have over 15 years experience working in the field of child anxiety, Dr Donovan and Professor Susan Spence, are working in collaboration with The University of Southern Queensland and The University of Queensland.

Children not getting the help they need

“The unique aspect of BRAVE is that the program is completed online. We developed the program in response to the evidence that as many as two thirds of children who experience anxiety may not be getting the help they need. There are various reasons why attending therapy sessions is not possible for many children; however, advances in computer technology have opened up new opportunities for families to access psychological services via the internet,” said Dr Donovan.

“Our research shows that BRAVE-ONLINE is just as effective as face-to-face therapy for treating child anxiety. The difference is we can offer BRAVE-ONLINE to children with social anxiety from all around Australia. All they need is access to a computer and the internet.”

The program requires participating children to complete ten, 60-minute online sessions over a 10 week period. Parents are also required to participate.

Interested participants should contact the BRAVE team on (07) 3735 3312 or email: [email protected]

For more information please visit the BRAVE website: