FRIENDS Resilience Workshops for Children and Youth

18670667_ml‘Friends for Life’ is the only anxiety prevention programme acknowledged by the World Health Organisation with over 15 years of comprehensive research evaluation and practice.

Would you like your child to learn strategies to boost resiliency, self esteem, stress management and problem solving skills? See an improvement in sense of self worth, confidence, academic output and enjoyment in life?

‘FRIENDS’ is the world’s leading anxiety prevention programme – helping children build resilience to cope with stress and challenges.  The programme teaches cognitive, behavioural, and emotional skills in a small group format.  

 Held in small groups over 12 x 1.5 hour sessions (after school and weekend sessions available)


The Anxiety New Zealand Trust, 

77 Morningside Drive, St Lukes, Akld.

Phone (09) 846 9776 Fax (09) 849 2375

  • What is the fun friends and friends for life programme?

    A programme created to assist children and youth to build resilience, confidence and self-esteem and to learn important skills and techniques to cope with feelings of fear, worry and depression. 

    Teaches cognitive, behavioural and emotional skills in a simple, structured format. 

  • Children and youth will gain skills such as:

    • Understanding emotions in yourself and other people
    • Developing confidence and self-esteem
    • Recognising signs of anxiety and body clues
    • Relaxation techniques and self-awareness
    • Understanding how thoughts affect feelings and behaviour
    • How to change negative “red” thinking into positive “green” thoughts.
    • Problem solving and positive coping strategies
    • How to be kind and empathic
    • Dealing with difficulties, conflicts, bullying and peer pressure
    • Developing positive peer relationships, friendships and support teams
  • Why are these programs important?

    Having the FRIENDS programmes available in schools is important as research shows that: 

    • One in five adults and children suffer anxiety or depression. This is more prevalent than ADHD, drug use, or any other mental health problem.
    • Only 5 % of cases receive intervention (Andrews, 2005).
    • Anxiety and depressive disorders make up 60% of school and work difficulties (Andrews, 2005).
    • New Zealand has the 3rd highest youth suicide rate worldwide (WHO, 2006)
  • Do these programmes work?

    A wealth of research and practical experience in classrooms has shown that: 

    • Early intervention reduces onset of youth anxiety and depression.
    • Exposing anxious or depressed children to FRIENDS as part of their normal school curriculum is likely to significantly reduce the risk of developing a disorder.
    • Children with moderate or normal levels of concern benefit from the programme by acquiring resilience to emotional stress that can help them for the rest of their lives.
    • FRIENDS significantly increases children’s level of self-esteem while reducing their feelings of worry and depression.
    • Up to 80% of children showing signs of an anxiety disorder no longer display those signs for up to 6 years after completing the programme.
    • “FRIENDS for Life” programmes are best practise for treatment and prevention of anxiety and depression in children and youth.
  • What makes friends different?

    • FRIENDS for Life is recognised by the World Health Organisation as an effective treatment and prevention of anxiety and depression.
    • It is use in 17 countries and is in 12 languages.
    • Evidence-based: Supported by ongoing research by Dr. Paula Barrett and her research team with a demonstrated preventative effect.
    • It is a positive programme which targets all children, regardless of their risk levels. It focuses on equipping children with skills to overcome daily challenges and negative life events which we all encounter.
  • About the author – Prof. Paula barrett

    • Paula is internationally recognised as a prominent scholar and groundbreaking researcher in the field of child psychology and has a distinguished international reputation as a keynote presenter.
    • Recently, Paula received the Telstra Queensland Business Woman of the Year Award. In 2008 she has also been a finalist in the Australian of the Year Queensland Award, and the Queenslander of the Year Award, for her contribution to the well-being of children and to the community.
    • Paula has authored and evaluated over 15 years the well-known FRIENDS for Life programme recognised by the World Health Organization as the best practice for the prevention and treatment of childhood and adolescent anxiety and depression.
  • The fun friends and friends for life programmes were created to:

    • Assist young children and youth in developing life skills to effectively cope with difficult and/or anxiety provoking situations.
    • Normalise the emotional state of anxiety.
    • Build emotional resilience and problem-solving abilities.
    • Encourage peer learning and build support networks and positive role models.
    • Promote self-confidence.
    • Empower children, families and teachers.
  • The benefits of building resilience 

    • "Children who are emotionally and socially skilled are more successful at school”
    • "Children who are emotionally and socially skilled relate better to other children, teachers and parents. They are more competent in dealing with stress and school work” (Aber, Jones & Cohen, 2000)
    • “Doing well in grade 8 could be better predicted from knowing children’s social competence 5 years earlier than from primary school academic results”
    • “Children that have learnt empathy, emotional and social competence show significantly less behavioural problems at school, even if they are in adverse life circumstances” (Caprara et al., 2000)