The FRIENDS programs are Australian developed, cognitive behaviour therapy (CBT) based programs endorsed by the World Health Organisation. The promotion of resilience in families, schools and communities has been endorsed by the World Health Organisation as the best practice for the prevention of anxiety and depression.
The FRIENDS programs are a suite of Australian-developed, cognitive behaviour therapy (CBT) based programs designed to build life-long resilience in individuals, families, schools and communities. The social and emotional skills promoted in the FRIENDS program have been endorsed by the World Health Organisation as the best practice for the prevention and treatment of anxiety and depression.
The Programs are broken down into four age-appropriate modules:
The Fun FRIENDS Program was developed by Dr Paula Barrett to help guide the social and emotional development of children aged 4 to 7 by using fun, play-based group activities. Fun FRIENDS nurtures the child’s development by teaching them to engage resilience early on, encouraging them to thrive and smoothly transition into school life.Learn more!
FRIENDS for Life is a social skills and resilience building program that has been recognised by the World Health Organisation as an effective means to prevent anxiety for children aged 8-11. It is proven to reduce anxiety and provide participants with the tools to rise to life’s challenges, and make the most of setbacks and adversity. FRIENDS for Life also improves participants’ social and emotional skills, ability to focus, confidence, and the capacity to relax and regulate emotions.Learn more!
My FRIENDS Youth is a group-based program that equips participants with the necessary tools to overcome new challenges that are commonly experienced by the 12- to 15-year old’s.
This program empowers early-teens to deal with stressful situations by normalising the state of anxiety and teaching self-regulation by the “Emotion Thermometer” concept. It also develops self-confidence by arming participants with positive and creative strategies to problem solve challenges and setbacks in every area of their lives. My FRIENDS Youth is evidence-based and has been proven by research to decrease anxiety and depression in adolescents.
The Adult Resilience program provides positive coping and resilience skills for those aged 16+. The human brain is capable of constant change and it is never too late to learn new positive skills. The Adult Resilience program is also taught to parents to increase their resilience and coping skills and ensure that the FRIENDS “language” is be spoken at home. If the whole family participates, then everyone will flourish.Learn more!
The FRIENDS programs are designed to build life-long resilience in individuals, families and communities. Below is a video from those experiencing more engaged and flourishing lives as a result of undertaking the program.
F – Feelings
R – Remember to Relax
I – I can do it! I can try my best!
E – Explore solutions and Coping Step Plans
N – Now reward yourself! You have done your best!
D – Don’t forget to practice!
S – Smile! Stay calm and talk to your support networks
One in five children and adolescents have an anxiety disorder. A child or adolescent experiencing an anxiety disorder may experience inhibited personal development, academic underachievement, social isolation or depression. The FRIENDS programs were developed to empower those undertaking the program with the skills necessary to not only manage and prevent anxiety, but become engaged and thriving individuals.
In addition to being endorsed by the World Health Organisation, the FRIENDS Programs are proven to be effective in promoting social and emotional skills cross-culturally. The skill sets acquired through FRIENDS programs are intended for long term use. With occasional refreshers these skills can be maintained for many years following the completion of the program.
Collaborative for Academic, Social and Emotional Learning (CASEL) outlined five core competencies of social and emotional learning (SEL) programs:
Self-awareness – knowing what we are feeling in the moment.
Social awareness – understanding what others are feeling.
Self-management – handling our emotions thoughts and behaviours in effective ways.
Relationship Skills – establishing and maintaining healthy and rewarding relationships based on cooperation, resistance to inappropriate social pressure, negotiating solutions to conflict and seeking help when needed.
Responsible Decision Making – making decisions based on an accurate consideration of all relevant factors and the likely consequences of alternative courses of action.