It’s Mental Health Awareness Week this week (16 -22 May). A growing number of children are being diagnosed with mental health issues; in the UK, 1 in 10 children suffer from a diagnosable mental health disorder, and anxiety is one of the most common. Australian Academic Press are offering a new treament resource, teaching children aged 4-12 years helpful ways to cope with and manage anxiety, the Take Action Program.

Using the principles of Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT), this resource is designed for easy use by mental health and educational professionals, working with individuals and groups of children with anxiety. The program consists of a comprehensive Practitioner Guidebook which walks practitioners through the steps covered in each treatment module, including photocopiable child and parent handouts. These handouts are also available as a separate Child Handout Workbook and a Parent Handout Workbook.

Take Action

Children are taught a range of CBT strategies during the program via a six-step ACTION plan. Each letter in ACTION stands for a skill children learn, and all together teach children coping strategies for managing anxiety.

A: Be AWARE – The first step in the ACTION plan teaches children to be AWARE of their feelings and learn to recognise when they feel anxious.

C: Keep CALM – the second strategy in the ACTION plan teaches children to keep calm and reduce their anxiety.

T: THINK strong thoughts – the third step in the ACTION plan teaches children to think positively and confidently, and learn strategies for turning unhelpful thoughts into positive and strong thoughts.

I: Get INTO Action – the fourth step in the plan encourages children to confront anxiety-provoking situations using an ACTION ladder, and to gradually reward themselves for taking steps to confront their anxiety.

O: Use my OPTIONS – the fifth step in the ACTION plan teaches children their options to further manage their anxiety using problem solving, asking for support, focusing on the positives, and how to use social skills to enhance their coping abilities.

N: NEVER stop taking ACTION. The last step in the plan encourages children to continue taking action against anxiety in the future.