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Child anxiety clinic to offer expanded county-wide service – University of Reading

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Child anxiety clinic to offer expanded county-wide service

Release Date 14 January 2009

Thanks to an increase in funding, the Berkshire Child Anxiety Clinic, based at the University of Reading, will now be able to significantly expand its capacity to offer treatment to children suffering from anxiety disorders.

Grants from the Medical Research Council¹, Berkshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust and the University of Reading means that, following referral, the clinic can now offer treatment, with no waiting list, to 7-12 year olds from across the county.

Dr. Cathy Creswell of the University of Reading's School of Psychology and Clinical Science, said: "We are delighted that we are able to expand our service to include East Berkshire as well as the west of the county. Child anxiety is among the most common emotional and behavioural difficulties experienced by young people and can have considerable impact on both their and their families' lives. It also impacts on children's social and academic development.

"Anxiety can be a chronic problem and can also precede other psychological difficulties. However, the good news is that anxiety disorders respond well to treatment so the key is making evidence-based treatments available to families. With increased funding, we are now in a much better position to do so."

An anxiety disorder is a condition characterised by high levels of fear or worry that gets in the way of a child's day to day life. Common disorders include problems separating from a caregiver, difficulties in social situations (e.g. extreme shyness), excessive worry and phobias. Common symptoms include frequent tummy aches or headaches, irritability or being easily upset, constant worrying, feelings of panic, sleeping problems, frequent reassurance seeking, muscle tension and concentration problems.

The Berkshire Child Anxiety Clinic offers various different treatment programmes, depending on what is judged to be most useful for the family. All of the treatments are based on Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT)² which is known to be an effective treatment for childhood anxiety. The clinic accepts referrals from health and education professionals. Concerned parents or guardians should, in the first instance, speak to a GP or similar professional.

More information at www.berkshirechildanxiety.org.uk

ENDS

Further information from Alex Brannen, Media Relations Manager at the University of Reading, on 0118 378 7388

Notes to editors:

• ¹ The Clinic is funded by almost £2 million from the Medical Research Council, £200,000 from Berkshire Healthcare Foundation Trust and £90,000 from the University of Reading.

• ²Cognitive Behaviour Therapy focuses on helping patients to change their thinking styles and behaviours to help them to overcome distress. In recent years the approach has been imported to work with children.

• The University of Reading has considerable expertise in the area of parent / child relationships and child anxiety, in particular. One current area of research by Dr Cathy Creswell looks at parental thinking styles and behaviours and its relationship with emotional problems in young people.

• Berkshire Child Anxiety Clinic is jointly funded by the Berkshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust and The University of Reading.

• Berkshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust (BHFT) was created in 2001, bringing together services from across Berkshire. The BHFT provides care across the county for people with mental health problems, and for some people with learning disabilities. We offer services for children and adolescents, working age adults and older people. We also provide specialist substance misuse services. Care is provided mainly through community teams who offer treatment and support through a range of services. In-patient services are provided at Prospect Park Hospital in Reading, Wexham Park in Slough, St Mark's in Maidenhead and Heatherwood in Ascot.

• The Medical Research Council supports the best scientific research to improve human health. Its work ranges from molecular level science to public health medicine and has led to pioneering discoveries in our understanding of the human body and the diseases which affect us all.

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