Anxiety in children and teenagers – supporting, understanding and signposting


Event type Live Stream

Thursday 6 July 2023
15:45 - 18:15 UK
CPD certificate for all delegates
Delegates will have access to slides and recordings for 90 days after the event

Upset, Boy

Anxiety disorders in young people have been increasing over the past three decades, particularly in teenage girls. But there is a big spectrum between sometimes feeling anxious, and meeting clinical criteria or being diagnosed with an anxiety disorder. In this event, we will explore what anxiety looks like in young people, suggest some practical tips for recognising and supporting anxious children and adolescents, hear about anxiety relating to exams, and learn more about what we know from research about the causes of anxiety.


Sign up to this FREE webinar at this link or on the Book Now button at the top of the screen, and complete the form that follows. You’ll then receive an email confirmation and a link to the webinar, plus we’ll send you a calendar reminder nearer the time.

FREE – to ACAMH Members

£10 Non-Members

  • CPD certificate for all delegates
  • Delegates will have access to slides and recordings for 90 days after the event
  • PLEASE NOTE: You cannot book onto this event after the event has started on 6 July 15:45 UK time

Don’t forget as a charity any surplus made is reinvested back as we work to our vision of ‘Sharing best evidence, improving practice’, and our mission to ‘Improve the mental health and wellbeing of young people aged 0-25’. 

Key learning outcomes

  • Understand more about the causes of anxiety as a clinical problem, and how this might run in families
  • Improve knowledge around exams and tests and how this relates to anxiety in young people
  • Learn how to identify common signs of anxiety, and understand the difference between being occasionally anxious and needing specialist mental health support
  • Become aware of the different perspectives of clinicians, parents and researchers to develop a broader understanding of anxiety in young people

Who should attend

Anyone working with children and young people in particular school staff and others who work with children and young people who are not specialists in anxiety. Others who would be interested include; Ed Psychs, CAMHS staff, Paediatricians, Researchers, Social workers, Youth leaders, and those interested child and adolescent mental health.

About the talks

Pete Lawrence ‘Causes of anxiety, anxious families, and preventing anxiety: lessons from ongoing trials’
Preventing anxiety disorders is desirable. Risk factors for anxiety disorders include child inhibited temperament, child sub-clinical symptoms of anxiety and parent anxiety. ‘Targeted’ prevention is for children facing such risk factors. We are testing two different targeted anxiety prevention programmes in randomized controlled trials (RCTs). In one, ‘Parenting with Anxiety’, we have targeted children aged 4-11 years whose parents are anxious. The intervention is a 6-session online course for parents to complete. In the other RCT, Managing Young Children’s Anxiety Through Schools (MY-CATS), we have targeted children aged 4-7 years who face at least one, and up to three, of inhibited temperament, child sub-clinical symptoms of anxiety and parent anxiety. The intervention is a 7-session guided self help programme for parents. I will describe the background to these RCTs, our progress to date (both trials are collecting outcome data) and what we have already learned.

Key learning outcomes

  • To be able to summarise risk factors for anxiety disorders
  • To be able to consider how risk factors might interact
  • To be able to articulate how parents might best prevent anxiety in their children

Professor Dave Putwain ‘Test and exam anxiety’
Most students at some point feel nervous when taking an important test or giving a presentation in front of others. Such isolated periods of anxiety are relatively common. Test anxiety refers to those students who experience persistently high anxiety and worry in situations where their performance will be evaluated. In addition to the classic signs of anxiety such a racing heart, trembling, a churning stomach, and feeling panicky, test anxiety is accompanied by persistent thoughts of failure and the negative consequences that follow failure. A common experience is to ‘go blank’ or ‘freeze up’ during an exam. It is surprising, therefore, that highly test anxious students perform worse on exams than their counterparts who do not become anxious. The negative effects of test anxiety are not limited to achievement. High levels of test anxiety are associated with poor wellbeing and can be trigger for more serious and persistent forms of anxiety. Fortunately, test anxiety is amenable to brief low intensity cognitive-behavioural intervention. Studies have shown such interventions can reduce not only test anxiety but extend to symptoms of panic disorder and generalised anxiety disorder. Is this seminar, David will provide an overview of what we presently know about exam anxiety: what exam anxiety is, why it is something that is important to take seriously and what research shows can be done to help, support, and intervene with high test anxious persons.

Key learning outcomes

  • Recognise how the signs of exam anxiety present, what to look for and how to identify someone experiencing high levels of exam anxiety.
  • Understand the ways that exam anxiety can undermine learning and exam performance.
  • Understand the different methods that can be used to reduce exam anxiety.

Sarah-Lou Glover, Parental Minds CiC – ‘A parents’ experience of how to best support a young person’s anxiety’
Sarah-Lou works with researchers and is a co-author on various projects on CYP’s mental health. She will share support guides developed through family lived experience with input from researchers and professionals that hundreds of parent/caregivers are using to support youngsters who are anxious, whilst taking care of their own well-being. In this talk, Sarah-Lou will reflect on her own experiences as well as sharing practical tips for supporting young people with anxiety.

Key learning outcomes

  • To understand how we can best support young people’s anxiety as parent/caregivers.
  • To gain an understanding of how co-production can achieve ‘live’ support guides, reflecting the most up to date feedback and research.


15:45 Abby Russell, ACAMH Chair Devon and Cornwall Branch – Introduction and welcome

15:50 Alex Boyd, University of Exeter – ‘What is anxiety and what does anxiety look like in children and young people?’ (part 1)

16:05 Pete Lawrence, University of Southampton – ‘Causes of anxiety, anxious families, and preventing anxiety: lessons from ongoing trials’

16:25 Short Q&A opportunity

16:35 Break

16:45 Dave Putwain, Liverpool John Moores University – ‘Test and exam anxiety’

17:05 Sarah-Lou Glover, Parental Minds CiC – ‘A parents’ experience of how to best support a young person’s anxiety’

17:25 Alex Boyd, Clinical Psychologist, University of Exeter – ‘Practical tips to support anxious children and young people'(part 2)

17:45 Main Q&A session

18:15 Close

About the speakers

Pete Lawrence

Pete Lawrence, is a clinical psychologist and scientist. His work focuses on understanding children’s development in the face of adversity. One type of adversity is common mental health problems in parents, such as anxiety and depression. Ultimately, he aims to translate this understanding into effective, scalable prevention programmes to enhance children’s development and support their families. Pete’s current work includes randomised controlled trials to test the impact of psychological programmes to prevent the development of anxiety disorders in children at risk of developing these; experimental laboratory studies of the intergenerational transmission of anxiety, and qualitative studies to understand what support parents.

David Putwain

Professor David Putwain is based in the School of Education at Liverpool John Moores University. He taught in various schools and 6th form colleges from 1994 to 2006. After completing a PhD in 2006, David joined Edge Hill University and in 2016 moved to Liverpool John Moores University. His research interests focus on how psychological factors influence, and in turn are influenced by, learning and achievement. He has a longstanding interest in test anxiety among school aged populations and the development of intervention to provide students with the tools they need to manage their test anxiety.

Dr Alex Boyd

Dr. Alex Boyd is an experienced Clinical Psychologist and accredited CBT therapist who works both in independent practice and at the University of Exeter, as part of CEDAR, training other professionals in evidenced based parenting and mental health interventions to support young people and families. She will provide an overview how depression may present in young people and how parents, carers and adults working with young people can recognise the signs and symptoms of depression as well as how to find further support when needed.

Sarah-Lou Glover

Sarah-Lou Glover has a keen interest in the support and wellbeing of those who are supporting other’s mental wellbeing. She has developed support guides and skills workshops using the voice of family lived experience with input from professionals and researchers. Parental Minds now offer support to hundreds of parent/caregivers in Devon and they have delivered training in schools and to mental health practitioners. Sarah-Lou’s training and public speaking events are said to be ‘inspirational’ and her work has been called ‘trail blazing’.