Mental health prevention in UK classrooms: The FRIENDS anxiety prevention programme

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Childhood anxiety is a common condition which, if untreated, can cause considerable distress and impairment and increase the likelihood of mental health problems in adulthood. Developing good emotional health in children is therefore an important objective which has been emphasised in recent governmental initiatives and policies. In particular, schools have been identified as having an important role in promoting positive mental health in children. This paper summarises the different approaches, outcomes and shortfalls of school-based anxiety prevention programmes. One particularly encouraging programme based upon cognitive behaviour therapy, the FRIENDS for Life programme, is described. Outcomes from UK-based studies evaluating FRIENDS are summarised and the way the programme can be integrated within schools to complement other initiatives discussed. Finally, limitations of the current research are discussed and issues about the practical implementation of FRIENDS in schools highlighted.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)23-35
Number of pages13
JournalEmotional and Behavioural Difficulties
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2010


  • Anxiety
  • Prevention
  • The FRIENDS programme

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Clinical Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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