By Dr Nihara Krause, Consultant Clinical Psychologist, Founder and CEO stem4
Recent NHS Digital figures (2018) showed that anxiety and depression were the highest mental health disorders experienced by children aged 5-19 with a peak between the ages of 17 and 19. Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS) resources are stretched and so, on triage, it is likely that anxiety disorders are often less prioritised. And yet, anxiety disorders are highly treatable.
The first line approach to anxiety is a treatment called Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT) which focuses on the different ways in which anxiety affects us, including our thoughts, behaviours, emotions and physical reactions.
I designed Clear Fear for stem4 with input from young people and based it on hundreds of requests from young people to provide them with a range of ways to manage anxiety. Clear Fear uses a Cognitive Behavioural approach to help users change anxious thoughts and emotions, alter anxious behaviours and calm fear responses. It also has descriptions of the ways in which anxiety shows, immediate support for a panic attack, resources and a ‘grit box’ to boost resilience. In addition it counterbalances anxiety with humour in the smile section and features inspirational statements and people. It is recommended for the ages of 11-19 years but can be used by a younger group with the support of a parent or carer.
Whilst Internet-based CBT is no less effective than face-to-face treatments in reducing anxiety and its associated symptoms and CBT is recommended by NICE as the first-line treatment for anxiety disorders, Clear Fear compliments, but does not substitute for the assessment and on-going support of a mental health professional.
stem4 is grateful for the Tech for Good grant from Comic Relief and the Paul Hamlyn Foundation as well as several fundraisers who have supported the development of Clear Fear.
Clear Fear can be downloaded free of charge from the App Store and Google Play. For further information on the app visit www.clearfear.co.uk.