Support for children and young people

Anxiety can affect anyone of any age, background or social group. Even some of the most confident people you know could be living with anxiety. Recent research suggests that as many as one in six young people will experience an anxiety condition at some point. This means that up to five people in a school class may be living with anxiety such as OCD (obsessive compulsive disorder), social anxiety and shyness, exam stress, worry or panic attacks.

Many anxiety disorders begin in childhood and adolescence, but on average, people wait for over ten years before seeking help! as a young person, you can save yourself a lot of stress by getting help sooner rather than later. At Anxiety UK, we have trained volunteers who have experienced anxiety themselves. They are available Monday to Friday 9.30-5.30 and can help you decide the next best step for you.

Did you know?

  • 13.3% of 16 – 19 year olds and 15.8% of 20 – 24 year olds have experienced anxiety (neurotic episode).
  • 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.

There are many different types of anxiety and everyone’s experience is different. However, you can be sure that many other people are feeling the way that you do. Untreated anxiety can affect your learning; your confidence and motivation; and your personal relationships.

Helping your Child service

Is your child anxious? Do you find it hard to get support?

Our new Helping your Child service is designed to give parents the skills needed to support their child. This service is suitable for children aged from 5 to 12. It’s based on Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) and includes:

CBT programme

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 a new, evidence-based programme that supports parents struggling to find help for their child’s anxiety. One of our approved therapists (a CBT counsellor or clinical hypnotherapist) will work through the CBT-based techniques mentioned in the book below. They will set you exercises, such as a thought journal and different behavioural experiments, and give you homework to supplement the session work. They will help you to understand the material and can answer any questions about the techniques.

Our therapists work in many different UK locations. However, if you need special accommodation for face-to-face sessions, please contact our Referrals team to see if this is possible.

Evidence -based book

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 will help you to 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, we can’t currently offer it to those communicating via British Sign Language.

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

Other Resources

Coping with an anxious or depressed child’, by Anxiety UK Patron and leading researcher on child anxiety, Dr Sam Cartwright-Hatton. This is a great first read for parents who are struggling to manage their child’s behaviour, and will help you to decide which treatment or therapist would provide the most help. It 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. You can purchase it from the Anxiety UK shop by clicking here.

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:

Call us

You can call our Infoline number: 03444 775 774 between 9.30am and 5.30pm, Monday to Friday, and talk to someone in complete confidence.

Email us

If you want information or help, you can email us on support@anxietyuk.org.uk. The service is free and confidential. It’s not a counselling service but we can point you in the direction of further help and support. Don’t be worried about anything that you write in the email – all of the volunteers who answer the emails are trained to deal with anxiety and also have personal experience of it themselves, so they understand how anxiety feels.

Seek professional help

Although you might be trying to do things to reduce your anxiety, this might not be enough to help you to cope. You might need to contact a professional, who can discuss how you’re feeling and help you to start feeling better. All professionals will keep your information confidential, so don’t worry about anyone finding out.

Children and Anxiety fact sheet

Download the factsheet

Help others by providing advice and support to those in need.