Friends Resilience started in 1988, after securing a community grant. We developed evidence based resilience programs for school settings, to prevent anxiety and depression in youth. Friends Resilience also evaluated ‘Train the Trainer’ protocols to enable a cost-effective dissemination of the programs.
The FRIENDS programs are Australian developed, cognitive behaviour therapy (CBT) based programs, endorsed by the World Health Organisation, as best practice for the prevention and treatment of anxiety and depression, promoting resilience in families, schools and communities.
Our programs are proved effective across all age groups from prep to grade 12 and into adulthood, both nationally and internationally. The suite of FRIENDS programs (Fun FRIENDS, FRIENDS for Life, My FRIENDS Youth and Adult Resilience – Strong Not Tough) showed effectiveness at post, 12 months and 3 years follow up, by reducing reported anxiety and depression symptoms and increasing resilience, self-confidence, self-efficacy, self-esteem and social emotional skills. The Programs have also been shown to improve peer relationships and positive attitudes towards learning and the school environment generally.
The programs have a firm theoretical and evidence basis. The theoretical model for the prevention and early intervention of anxiety and depression addresses attachment (emotions), physiological (body), cognitive (mind), and learning (behaviour) processes, which interact in the development, experience and maintenance of anxiety.
Friends Resilience offers training to teachers, education professionals and allied health professionals, who wish to deliver the FRIENDS programs in their own clinic, school, organisation, government department, community, or country. Friends Resilience has developed a national and international network of Licensed Partners who use the widely tested and proven effective, research based FRIENDS programs. Licensees undertake retraining every three years to update their knowledge regarding innovations in the field.
Today FRIENDS is being used in Australia, Brazil, Canada, Chile, China, Colombia, Denmark, Fiji, Finland, Germany, Hong Kong, Iran, Ireland, Japan, Korea, Lebanon, Mexico, New Zealand, Norway, Pakistan, Portugal, Puerto Rico, Singapore, Taiwan, The Netherlands, The United Kingdom, The United States of America and United Arab Emirates..
FRIENDS is an acronym that helps children remember the strategies taught that can be used to effectively manage anxiety:
F = Feelings (empathy training and self-regulation)
R = Remember to relax (relaxation & mindfulness strategies)
I = I can try my best (changing unhelpful to helpful thinking)
E = Explore Coping Step Plans and strategies for finding helpful solutions (choosing thumbs up actions instead of thumbs down actions)
N = Now reward yourself for trying your best (choosing interpersonal rather than material rewards)
D = Don’t forget to practice (choose to use the FRIENDS skills and give back to the community)
S = Stay calm (values based role models and support networks)
Specific skills that are taught are based on the following principles: