Fishwah focuses on early intervention into anxiety



Early intervention is probably the most important factor in decreasing long term anxiety. This is a key focus of Fishwah.

You, as a parent, will learn anxiety management skills and how to teach them to your child so they know how to deal with their fears and worries. Fears and worries that can lead to anxiety as they grow up.

You’ll be provided with practical information so that you understand what you can do to reduce the risk of your child developing anxiety problems.

A bit about anxiety disorders

Anxiety disorders in childhood and adolescents are more prevalent than you may realise. One in seven people suffer anxiety (in a twelve month period) [1].  That’s 3.5 million Australians.  It might surprise you to know that in fact, anxiety is the most common problem reported by children of all ages. Diagnosable anxiety disorders are found in around one in ten children; and less extreme but still distressing worry and fear problems are even more common [2].

Anxiety disorders have a severe impact on individuals, families and to our society. They:

  • increase the cost to our medical system and social security;
  • result in higher absenteeism;
  • decrease marriage success rates;
  • produce lower income levels;
  • increase levels of alcohol abuse and depression and in some cases suicide.

Health economists predict that anxiety and depression will be the second highest burden of any disease by 2030.

Anxiety usually starts young and most children learn to cope themselves and will naturally grow out of it.  But anxiety can be a bigger issue for some children and can be a problem if it interferes with something they want or need to do.  It can cause marked interference in children’s lives, stopping them learning well, interfering with friendships, and affecting the whole family.  In some cases, anxiety in childhood can continue throughout life. If we intervene early we can help prevent the impact anxiety can have on the rest of their lives. The positive side is that anxiety disorders can be effectively treated.

The aim of early intervention is to decrease the presence of long-term anxiety disorders. To achieve this it is important to identify which factors lead to increased anxiety, and therefore which variables should be targeted.  We don’t know what causes anxiety, but research has given us some very good hints about things that happen early in life that might increase the risk of developing anxiety [3][4].

Risk factors for anxiety disorders in middle childhood

  1. Inhibited temperament  (withdrawal/wariness/avoidance/shyness in unfamiliar situations)
  2. Anxious parent
  3. Overprotective/Overinvolved parent (supporting avoidance)

These factors can be used to identify children who are at risk for long-term anxiety problems.

How Fishwah helps

To address inhibition and anxiety in children we at Fishwah have incorporated the following modules in our Goal Achievement Tool and resources

  • How to recognise anxiety;
  • How to generate brave thoughts and coping skills;
  • Support in reducing parent overprotection and increasing the child’s independence;
  • How to create the right family environment that nurtures healthy self-esteem and self-confidence;
  • Exposure goal setting tools, to allow them to face the very things they are afraid of.

Research highlights the important role that parents play in affecting child anxiety, via their own anxiety and their parenting.  It is therefore essential that parents are active participants in intervention.

The Fishwah Goal Achievement Tool is a practical support tool that will enable any parent to bring out the best in their child.


  1. Australian Bureau of Statistics (2007). 4326.0 – National Survey of Mental Health and Wellbeing: Summary of Results, 2007 
  2. Rapee, Wignall, Spence, Cobham, Lyneham (2008). Helping Your Anxious Child. Second Edition. A Step-by-Step Guide for Parents, pg 11:  New Harbinger Publications
  3. Hudson JL, Dodd HF (2012). Informing Early Intervention: Preschool Predictors of Anxiety Disorders in Middle Childhood. PLoS ONE 7(8): e42359. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0042359.
  4. Rapee RM, Kennedy S, Ingram M, Edwards S, Sweeney L (2005). Prevention and Early Intervention of Anxiety Disorders in Inhibited Preschool Children. J Consult Clinic Psychol 73: 488–497. doi: 10.1037/0022-006X.73.3.488.