The ‘FRIENDS for Life’ programme is school-based anxiety prevention and resilience building programmes developed by Dr. Paula Barrett in Australia.. The World Health Organisation cites ‘FRIENDS for Life’ as the only evidence-based programme effective at all levels of intervention for anxiety in children (WHO 2004). The programme helps students to develop effective strategies to deal with worry, stress and change and teaches the skills required to reduce anxiety and promote resilience. It is beneficial for all students, irrespective of their anxiety level.
The programme can be run by teachers as a whole class programme, or as a small group intervention. FRIENDS is an acronym for the skills taught throughout the programme:
- Remember to Relax. Have quiet time.
- I can do it! I can try (Inner helpful thoughts)
- Explore Solutions and Coping Step Plans.
- Now reward yourself! You’ve done your best!
- Don’t forget to practice.
- Smile! Stay calm, Stay Strong and talk to your support networks!