Researchers from Griffith University and the University of Southern Queensland, in partnership withbeyondblue, and the University of Queensland have launched a new online program for young children with anxiety problems.

The new program, BRAVE for Young Children, is designed to treat anxiety in young children aged 3-7 years and teaches parents new strategies to manage and reduce their child’s anxious behaviour.

There are four online sessions, each with a different focus. Parents simply follow the link to the BRAVE website and register for the program.

Anxiety is the most common emotional problem in pre-schoolers, with between 10-20% of youngsters suffering with it.

Myths that ‘children grow out of it’

“Despite myths that all children simply ‘grow out of it,’ anxiety tends to persist if left untreated and is a risk factor for later anxiety, depression, and academic problems,” says Associate Professor Caroline Donovan from Griffith’s School of Applied Psychology and one of the developers of the BRAVE program.

“It is therefore important that anxiety is treated as early as possible in the preschool years. Unfortunately, more than 40% of young children with anxiety are not treated, despite the fact that psychologists can treat youth anxiety well.

“There are a number of barriers that get in the way of parents accessing treatment for their young children including cost, time, waiting-lists and stigma. The BRAVE for Young Children program gets around these barriers as it is free, and can be done at any time that is convenient for the family in the privacy of their own home.”

The program is free to all Australian families and is funded and supported throughnot for profit organisation beyondblue.

The BRAVE for Young Children program is the latest instalment in a suite of online BRAVE programs for youth. More than28,000 Australian families have already registered for the BRAVE for Children and BRAVE for Teenagers programs.

Associate Professor Caroline Donovan and Professor Sue Spence, as well as Associate Professor Sonja March from University of Southern Queensland, have been conducting clinical trials on the BRAVE Programs for many years, with results suggesting that the online programs can be just as effective as face-to-face therapy.

It is their hope that by increasing access to high-quality, evidence-based treatment for anxiety problems in young Australian children, that the lifelong problems otherwise faced by these youngsters, will be prevented.

The program is available through thebeyondbluewebsite or directly at