With one in ten children being diagnosed with anxiety in Australia[i], a local start-up has launched today to address the rising issue: Fishwah. The innovative online tool is a world first, providing a system inspired by therapeutic techniques for families to manage and reduce anxiety for primary school aged children.
A behavioural change tool, Fishwah helps kids build confidence to achieve real goals – from academic to special needs, to overcoming worries, fears and anxiety issues. Based on the fundamental principles of exposure therapy, the online platform provides the structure to break issues into manageable steps, with a reward based progress system, and also offers tips and strategies to empower mums and dads.
The Fishwah founders, parent-preneurs Natalie and Stephen Byrne, said they developed the tool in response to discovering their son had anxiety issues and there was limited access to the right kind of help.
'Four years ago we learned that our son was suffering from anxiety issues, and we found there were no easy-to-access, hands-on, achievable programs for families to combat it," said Co-founder Stephen Byrne.
'While traditional therapy can help, it is often difficult for families to juggle sessions with their busy daily schedules. While developing our own family's response, Natalie and I began to design a digital tool to track and reward our child's progress. We found that we'd built the groundwork for something that could help any parent in the same position as we were in – and the idea for Fishwah was born."
Co-founder Natalie Byrne said: 'A lack of confidence is a significant issue for kids and can end up holding them back – which I don't think any parent wants for their child.
'Fishwah is breaking down access barriers with a new digital approach to traditional therapeutic techniques. Essentially we've taken the principles of the successfully proven exposure therapy, which is all about breaking down fears into graded steps, but we are making it digital.
'Fishwah offers an affordable option that allows families to work together from home in their own time. It can even be used by schools for learning development or psychologists as an extra tool for their kit bag. Children respond well to technology – online tools can engage kids in a positive way and Fishwah is ultimately helping them with their development and growth."
Key Australian statistics show:
Over a 12 month period, one in seven Australians suffer anxiety.
Anxiety is the most common problem reported by children of all ages. Diagnosable anxiety disorders are found in around one in ten children.
The most common types of anxiety disorders in primary school aged children are phobias (including social phobias), separation anxiety and generalised anxiety.
Health economists predict that anxiety and depression will be the second highest burden of any disease by 2030.
Research highlights the important role that parents play in affecting child anxiety, via their own anxiety and their parenting. It is therefore essential that parents are active participants in intervention.
Cognitive Behaviour Therapy and Exposure Therapy are considered the most effective treatments for anxiety disorders. They have an 80% efficacy rate when used properly and consistently.
To register or for more information visit http://fishwah.com/
Fishwah is based on the proven principles of exposure therapy with structured goal setting, but offers an online option for helping 6-12 year olds with their personal development and growth. The behavioural change tool brings parents and children together to help kids gain confidence and achieve goals, including those focused on overcoming worries, fears and phobias. The digital platform provides the structure to break goal setting into manageable steps with a system for rewarding progress, plus it offers great tips and strategies that empowers mums and dads.