University of Reading

Treating children with anxiety and depression

Children suffering with anxiety and depression are benefiting from a cost-effective treatment developed at the University of Reading that is effective in more than 70% of cases.

For almost 20 years, the gold standard treatment for childhood anxiety disorders has been 3-4 months of weekly cognitive-behavioural therapy delivered by specialists. Though effective, this high-intensity, one-to-one intervention means that only a small proportion of those in need can access treatment. 

Reading’s team of clinical psychologists developed and evaluated a brief and relatively simple parent-led version that can be delivered by non-specialists. This has doubled the number of children that each clinician can treat and manage. The therapy is now standard first-line treatment for children with anxiety orders across most NHS Trusts in the UK and is also being trialled as far afield as Iceland and China. 

Building on this success, the AnDY Research Clinic was established at Reading in 2016. The clinic assesses and treats children and young people with anxiety and depression across Berkshire and routinely supports more than 200 children each year. 

One parent who attended a five-week Overcoming Anxiety course run by the AnDY clinic said: “It was a relief to be in the company of others who understood what we were going through. Thanks to the course, our daughter has made significant progress in overcoming her anxieties.”

Further reading