Anxiety and Depression Team

We treat children and young people with generalised anxiety, social phobia, separation anxiety, panic attacks, specific phobias, obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD), body dysmorphic disorder (BDD), depression and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

We’re based at the University of Reading but have clinics across all our Children and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS) bases in Berkshire.

We have a close relationship with the Anxiety and Depression in Young People (AnDY) research unit at the University of Reading, which undertakes research on the development, maintenance and treatment of anxiety disorders and depression in children and young people.

When our team receives a referral for your child, we’ll invite you and your child to attend a workshop.

These workshops are designed to help families understand the difficulties they’re facing, consider the types of support available and understand what cognitive behaviour therapy (CBT) involves. We provide information about how to book an assessment for anyone who would like to access our service. Separate workshops are run for parents and for adolescents.

Assessments and care plans

We meet with you and your child both together and (depending on your child’s age) separately. We ask lots of questions about your child’s life, what things are going well and what difficulties they’re currently having. We also explore factors such as social needs, school progress and family relationships. This helps the assessing clinician, you, and your child, to have a clear understanding of the difficulties, and develop a personalised treatment plan.

At the end of our assessments, we agree an action plan (often called a care plan) with your child, which could involve thinking differently, identifying things that you can try to help overcome your difficulties or going on the waiting list for further intervention.

Cognitive Behaviour therapy (CBT) is the core treatment offered for anxiety and depression, though it’s delivered in a variety of ways. Our current treatments include:

  • The Overcoming Programme: a guided cognitive behaviour treatment for parents of anxious children aged 12 and under; it can be delivered individually or in groups
  • Individual behavioural activation for adolescent depression
  • Individual cognitive behaviour therapy for anxiety and/or depression
  • Individual cognitive behaviour therapy (including exposure and response prevention) for OCD
  • Group CBT for adolescents with anxiety disorders
  • Computerised CBT for adolescents with anxiety disorder

For a small number of young people, we also offer adjunctive treatments, including psychiatric management (e.g. medication) and systemic therapy.

We work in collaboration with young people in all our treatments. We use a goals-based approach, and monitor progress every session to track outcome, plan care and receive feedback.

We know it’s not ideal to wait for CBT treatment and are constantly thinking of ways to bring our waiting times down. If you’ve concerns about your child while on the waiting list, please contact us. We try to prioritise young people according to clinical need.

Once a treatment slot is available, most young people attend the clinic closest to their home for treatment; some people might choose to be seen further from home to start treatment sooner. Treatment generally takes place for an hour a week for three to six months, sometimes longer.

If your child has moderate to severe anxiety or depression – where symptoms are having a significant impact on their daily life – you can refer to CAMHS. Please read the referral criteria carefully before you complete our referral form.

If your referral is urgent, please phone 0300 365 1234.

If the impact on their daily life isn’t significant, we recommend increased physical activity, a healthy diet, meaningful activities and support to help them form better relationships.

Support services are also available in your area and can be found through the 'Local Offer'.

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