Free online program for parents whose adolescent is experiencing anxiety or depression

Depression and anxiety disorders in young people are a global health concern. Research indicates that there are things parents can do to help reduce the impact of adolescent anxiety and depression. Evidence-based, internet-delivered parenting programs overcome many barriers that inhibit parental attendance of face-to-face interventions.

Partners in Parenting (PiP) is a tailored web-based parenting intervention that targets parenting factors associated with adolescents’ risk for problems associated with anxiety and depression. PiP was developed as a collaboration between the University of Melbourne and Monash University. The ‘Therapist-assisted Online Parenting Strategies’ (TOPS) program was developed as a therapist-supported version of PiP, specifically for parents whose adolescents are engaged in mental health services for anxiety and/or depression.

Like PiP, TOPS provides parents with a tailored feedback report highlighting their strengths and areas for improvement, followed by a set of interactive modules that is specifically recommended for the parent based on individually identified areas for improvement. Via video-conferencing, a ‘therapist-coach’ assists parents to apply positive parenting behaviours recommended in the web-based program, with the intention of reducing symptoms of adolescent anxiety and depression.

TOPS has been developed and evaluated via consultation with mental health professionals and parents of adolescents receiving treatment for anxiety and depression. Parents are generally motivated to support their adolescent’s well-being. However, when confronted with depression and anxiety in their adolescent, parents may not always know how to help. TOPS fills this gap, building on parents’ strengths and increasing their ability and confidence to support their adolescent.

TOPS is currently available for free to parents with an adolescent experiencing depression or anxiety, as part of an evaluation study.

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