Anxious to Awesome: A Deep Dive into the DMH Treatment for Anxiety in Children and Teens

Anxious to Awesome: A Deep Dive into the DMH Treatment for Anxiety in Children and Teens

In today’s fast-paced world, anxiety in children and teens is a growing concern. One in fourteen children and young people aged 4 to 17 in Australia experience an anxiety disorder1. There are a number of barriers which make access to traditional mental health treatment challenging. Many mental health services have long waiting lists, making it difficult for families to access the necessary support when it is most needed. Additionally, the stigma associated with mental health issues can prevent young people and their families from seeking help. Children and teens might also avoid therapy due to fear or misunderstanding about the process.

This is where Digital Mental Health (DMH) interventions come into play, offering flexible, accessible, and often free or low-cost alternatives to traditional therapy. Many young people find digital platforms more appealing and less intimidating than face-to-face therapy. Digital interventions allow them to access support in a private and controlled environment, which can reduce the fear and stigma associated with seeking help. Additionally, the interactive and gamified elements of many DMH programs can make the therapeutic process more engaging and enjoyable for children and teens.

This blog post provides a deep dive into the key digital mental health treatments available for young people within Australia. It also highlights the different approaches tailored to various age groups and family involvement levels.

Programs Targeting Parents Only

For young children who are not yet able to fully understand or retain therapeutic information, programs often target parents directly. This approach leverages the parents’ role in the child’s life to provide education and strategies for managing anxiety.

triple p logo

Triple P Fear-Less (6-14) (for parents)

Triple P Online provides evidence-based online parenting courses teaching positive parenting strategies to support child development and improve family wellbeing. Fear-Less Triple P teaches parents to set a good example of coping with anxiety, how to coach children to become more emotionally resilient, and to develop their own toolbox of strategies.

cool little kids online logo

Cool Little Kids Online (3-6) (for parents)

Cool Little Kids Online is a CBT-based, self-guided online program for parents of shy or anxious children aged 3 to 6 years. The program is designed to increase parents’ knowledge and build practical skills over 8 modules, to increase their child’s confidence. Registration costs $180 for access to all modules.

the brave program logo

The BRAVE Program

 Young children program (3-7) (for parents)

The BRAVE Program offers a number of self-guided CBT based psychological treatment programs to help children and teens overcome anxiety. The BRAVE Program for children 3-7 provides parents and caregivers of young children with information and skills to help their child overcome fears and anxiety.

Young Person Self-Directed Program with Optional Parent Support

These programs are primarily self-directed by the young person but include elements of parent support and monitoring to ensure engagement and progress. Some services offer a separate program for parents to complete alongside their child. These programs ensure that parents are equipped to help reinforce the therapeutic techniques their child is learning.

the brave program logo

The BRAVE Program

Children (8-12) (child and parent programs)

Teens (12 – 17) (teen and parent programs)

The BRAVE Program offers a number of self-guided CBT based psychological treatment programs to help children and teens overcome anxiety. The BRAVE Program for children (8-12) and the BRAVE Program for Teens offer child and parent programs, which can be completed individually by either the child or the parent, or at the same time. Both child and parent programs focus on skills and information to better cope with anxiety.

Momentum (7-17)

Momentum offers tailored online treatment programs to help children and adolescents learn new ways to cope with feelings of anxiety and/or unhappiness. The program can be completed by young people (7-17) on their own or with the support of a health professional or parent/caregiver, helping them understand difficulties they may be facing and ways to help overcome them.

this way up logo

THIS WAY UP Teen Worry and Sadness (12-17)

THIS WAY UP offers self-guided or own clinician supported mental health treatment programs for adults for various mental health concerns and an anxiety depression program for teens aged 12-17. The Teen Worry and Sadness Program is available for free with a clinician referral. Parents and carers can complete modules alongside their teen to support them as they learn new skills.

Fully Self-Directed Programs

For older teens and young adults who can manage their own treatment, fully self-directed programs provide flexibility and autonomy.

MOST (12-25)

A digital therapy service to help young people going through a challenging time and experiencing mental ill-health. It provides online tools and support to help users get back on track, as well as moderation online communities. MOST is accessible through participating youth mental health services in VIC, QLD, NSW and ACT.