DKK 2.5 million for online anxiety treatment

The Danish foundation TrygFonden has recently granted DKK 2.5 million to the Anxiety Disorder Clinic for Children and Adolescents for the development of an internet-based treatment programme for children and adolescents suffering from anxiety. Professor and Head of the Anxiety Disorder Clinic Mikael Thastum hopes that the project will result in the first public treatment option in the area.

2013.07.12 | Tine Bagger Christiansen

The Danish foundation TrygFonden has recently granted DKK 2.5 million to the Anxiety Disorder Clinic for Children and Adolescents for the development of an internet-based treatment programme for children and adolescents suffering from anxiety. Photo: Colourbox

Today, more than 90 families with children and adolescents suffering from anxiety are on the waiting list for cognitive group therapy at the Anxiety Disorder Clinic for Children and Adolescents, located at the Department of Psychology and Behavioural Sciences at Aarhus University. The reason for the great demand is the lack of public treatment options for the most frequent mental disorder among children and adolescents: Anxiety. A new research project may help change this. Backed by the DKK 2.5 million grant from TrygFonden, the Anxiety Disorder Clinic will develop an internet-based programme to help children and adolescents suffering from anxiety disorders.

Reach out to more people
The results achieved by the Anxiety Disorder Clinic through traditional group therapy are extremely positive: 60-70 % of the clients recover from their anxiety disorder and are able to live normal lives after participating in cognitive group therapy at the clinic. To meet the large demand for treatment, however, it is essential to offer a cheaper alternative:

- We want to investigate whether an internet-based programme without major involvement of a therapist may have a positive effect compared with our traditional group therapy. If it turns out that it can help some families, we are dealing with a very inexpensive treatment option with great potential, says Professor of Psychology Mikael Thastum.

The idea is to convey knowledge to parents, children and adolescents on how to deal with anxiety and ultimately recover from the disorder. Therefore, apart from a few phone conversations with a therapist, the families do all the work themselves. The aim is to help more children and adolescents in Denmark suffering from anxiety disorders.

A brand new solution
The treatment programme "Cool Kids" used at the Anxiety Disorder Clinic for Children and Adolescents has shown positive results, but internet-based treatment is still uncharted territory:

- This is something entirely new, and we actually know very little about how children and adolescents respond to the treatment. But the results among adults with anxiety disorders are promising. We work closely together with Macquarie University in Australia, but they have not tested the programme yet either, so we are very excited, says Mikael Thastum.

This autumn, the programme will be translated and adapted into Danish. The Head of the Clinic hopes that the online treatment will be ready for testing already in spring 2014:

- There will definitely be a great demand. It will not be difficult to recruit children and their families for this type of treatment - unfortunately, you might say.

Facts

- The DKK 2.5 million grant from TrygFonden will help further develop an internet-based treatment option for children and adolescents with anxiety disorders in cooperation with Macquarie University.

- The Anxiety Disorder Clinic for Children and Adolescents has existed since 2009 and primarily offers cognitive group therapy for children and adolescents suffering from anxiety disorders. The clinic is located at the Department of Psychology and Behavioural Sciences, School of Business and Social Sciences.

60-70 % of the clients at the Anxiety Disorder Clinic recover from their disorder after participating in group therapy at the Anxiety Disorder Clinic. Anxiety is the most frequent mental disorder among children and adolescents in Denmark. Between 2.5 and 5 % of all Danes under the age of 18 suffer from anxiety to a significant degree.

- In addition to the treatment of children and adolescents suffering from anxiety, the Anxiety Disorder Clinic is dedicated to research focusing on the development of evidence-based anxiety treatment methods as well as teaching of students at the Department of Psychology and Behaviour Sciences at Aarhus University.

- Read more about The Anxiety Disorder Clinic for Children and Adolescents.

 

For further information

Mikael Thastum

Professor Mikael Thastum
Head of the Anxiety Disorder Clinic for Children and Adolescents
Department of Psychology and Behavioural Sciences, School of Business and Social Sciences
Aarhus University

M: mikael@psy.au.dk
T: 87165846

 

 

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