One in three youth experience a clinical anxiety disorder before adulthood, and incidents of significant anxiety and obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) – along with many other behavioral health concerns – have surged among children and families since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. Left untreated, anxiety can lead to poor school performance, depression, substance abuse, failed relationships, physical health problems, and more.
In order to help address these issues, Yale Child Study Center (YCSC) Professor and Program for Anxiety Disorders Director Eli Lebowitz, PhD developed a new program, Supportive Parenting for Anxious Childhood Emotions (SPACE). A parent-based treatment program, SPACE has been tested and found to be an effective evidence-based treatment in multiple clinical trials.
Thanks to the generous support of an anonymous donor, Lebowitz now has the potential to reach even more children and families struggling with anxiety through a powerful new documentary, Breaking Free of Anxiety - A Journey Through SPACE. The documentary illustrates SPACE treatment through the moving story of two families coping with child anxiety and undergoing SPACE treatment, accompanied by professional interviews and expert commentary.
“Through this, our efforts will be multiplied, enabling us to reach a far greater number of families and therapists, allowing us to reduce the incidence of anxiety and OCD, paving the way for children and their families to thrive,” commented Lebowitz.
The documentary is the first of multiple projects planned through the New Media Fund, which supports the creation and distribution of high-quality media for education, training, and research in order to increase awareness about child anxiety and SPACE treatment. The goals of the videos include introducing parents and families to SPACE, reducing the frustration and helplessness experienced by many families, replacing stigmatization and isolation with public education and hope, and facilitating dissemination of key evidence-based principles and strategies for families and therapists.