BRAVE is an online program that is an initiative of Beyond Blue. It aims to prevent and treat anxiety in 8 to 17 year olds. It uses cognitive behaviour therapy over a series of online sessions. The program is split up into two categories; 8 to 11 year olds and 12 to 17 year olds.
As a young sufferer of anxiety I have a level of experience with both the condition and management of it. I am somewhat sceptical of the claim that it is possible to treat anxiety using this online course, however Beyond Blue has an outstanding reputation in this area. Over the course of the sessions I will review the program for 12 to 17 year olds.
The first session of the BRAVE anxiety treatment program aims to educate the participants about anxiety and begin to discuss causes. The session begins with questions about the participant’s levels of anxiety and what situations are likely to cause these feelings. This opens up the conversation about anxiety and gives an idea of what to expect from the program. Knowledge and expertise in the area are evident.
The session then continues to discuss the different types of anxiety. While this may help confirm the normality of the emotions the participant is feeling, I don’t agree with how specific the types of anxiety are made to seem. Anxiety can rise from a combination of sources and can be triggered by a number of things, so I think this categorising is unhelpful in that regard.
The program uses simple language and imagery to attempt to engage the young participants. This runs the risk of coming across as somewhat patronising and immature. The cartoon style of the session is fun but perhaps not appropriate for the older age range of participants.
The first session of the BRAVE anxiety treatment program has left me with mixed feelings. I did not enjoy the “black and white” categorising of anxiety types, and I found the use of simple language and cartoons to be somewhat inappropriate. However, I appreciate the knowledge and background research evident and can see potential for good things to come.
The BRAVE Program, which has been trialled and evaluated over the last 13 years, is an online self-help course that allows young people and their parents to seek support for anxiety in the comfort of their own homes. Read one young person’s take on the new online programme which is supported by Beyond Blue.