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The Cool Teens

A multimedia self-help program for adolescents with anxiety
by Mike Cunningham, Ronald Rapee and Heidi Lyneham

The Cool Teens CD-ROM has been developed as a selfhelp treatment option for young people with anxiety. It is a home-based cognitive behavioural therapy program that helps users to develop skills to cope better with the negative feelings associated with anxiety, such as fear, worry, nervousness or shyness. It has been designed for 14- to 18-year-olds and uses a combination of media (text, audio, illustrations, cartoons and live video) to deliver information, examples, activities and exercises. The program is being evaluated for its ability to reduce the symptoms and life interference caused by anxiety.

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Anxiety is one of the most common mental disorders in young people and can produce marked interference in their lives. Australia has been responsible for the development of several efficacious treatment programs (for example, Barrett, Dadds & Rapee 1996; Rapee 2000), but many young people still do not access mental health care services for problems such as anxiety (Sawyer et al. 2000). Since it has recently been suggested that adolescents may benefit from ?creative and innovative approaches? (Department of Health & Ageing 2004), a team at Macquarie University?s Anxiety Research Unit (MUARU) has developed the Cool Teens program. This is a selfhelp multimedia CD-ROM designed specifically for adolescents with anxiety. This program aims to provide a new therapy option for many young people who might not otherwise receive professional help. It is hoped that its availability will increase access to services, particularly in rural and remote areas.

Anxiety in adolescence

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