Children and Anxiety

Anxiety can affect anyone of any age, background or social group and many anxiety disorders begin in childhood and adolescence. Research suggests that as many as one in six young people will experience anxiety at some point or up to five children in a school class.

Did you know?

  • 13.3% of 16 – 19 year olds and 15.8% of 20 – 24 year olds have experienced anxiety .
  • 1.7% of 16 – 19 year olds and 2.2% of 20 -24 year olds have experienced a depressive episode.
  • 0.9% of 16 – 19 year olds and 1.9% of 20 – 24 year olds have experienced Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD).

Helping your child programme

CBT programme

Our 'Helping your Child' Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) based programme is designed to give parents the skills needed to support their child and is suitable for children aged from 5 to 12 and includes:

CBT programme: 6 support sessions (4 one-hour sessions either face-to-face, by phone or webcam; and two 15 minute sessions via phone or webcam) with an Anxiety UK Approved Therapist.

This is an evidence-based programme that supports parents struggling to find help for their child’s anxiety. An Anxiety UK Approved Therapist (a CBT counsellor or clinical hypnotherapist) will work through the CBT-based techniques detailed in the book below with the parent.

They will set you exercises, such as a thought journal and different behavioural experiments, and give you homework to supplement the sessions. They will help you to understand the material and can answer any questions about the techniques covered in the programme.

Please note that the programme does not provide direct therapy for the child and instead equips parents with the skills needed to support their child

Anxiety UK Approved Therapists operate from locations across the UK. For queries on this service, please email:

Evidence-based book

Helping your child with fear and worries A copy of ‘Helping your Child with Fears and Worries: A self-help guide for parents’ by Prof Cathy Cresswell and Lucy Willetts. Anxiety effects some 15% of children and can lead to issues such as school avoidance, difficulties in making friends and long-term problems with anxiety and depression. Written by two of the UK’s foremost experts on childhood anxiety, this guide helps you understand the causes of your child’s worries, with step-by-step practical strategies to help them to overcome them.

Total cost

The service is available to both members of Anxiety UK and non-members. Anxiety UK family members receive a discount of over 35%. If you’re based outside the UK, we can offer the service via phone or webcam. Unfortunately, the service is not currently available in British Sign Language(BSL).

  • Anxiety UK family members: An initial payment of £75 plus £75 payable to the Anxiety UK Approved Therapist). Total = £150
  • All others: An initial payment of £115, then £125 payable to the Anxiety UK Approved Therapist. Total = £240

Other Resources

'Coping with an anxious or depressed child’ by Anxiety UK Clinical Advisor and leading researcher on child anxiety, Prof Sam Cartwright-Hatton is a great read for parents struggling to manage their child’s anxiety. The book will help you to decide which treatment would be most beneficial and offers practical advice about managing your child’s anxiety and includes worksheets, tips on the use of praise or consequences, and how you can engage the school in helping your child. Purchase this book from the Anxiety UK shop by clicking the image below.

Coventry and Warwickshire Partnership NHS Trust has produced two useful booklets for young people with OCD and their parents/carers. To download a free copy, click on the relevant link below:

Children and Anxiety fact sheet

Download the factsheet