Anxiety in children and young people; how is it diagnosed?


Anxiety can affect anyone, even the very young, but what exactly is it? Anxiety is often misrepresented, as it is more than simply ‘feeling stressed’ or ‘feeling worried’. Anxiety itself is a normal and often a healthy emotion. Feelings of anxiety will often invoke a fight-or-flight response in someone, and scientifically it is a survival response to dangerous or threatening situations, though it can cause some people to react more intensely than is necessary. It is when people experience disproportionate levels of anxiety that it becomes a medical disorder.

Anxiety becomes a problem when anxious feelings don’t go away when a stressful situation has passed, or the ‘stressor’ has been removed; when they’re ongoing and happen without any particular reason or cause. Physical symptoms can develop, such as increased blood pressure and nausea, concentration difficulties, sleep difficulties and restlessness or a feeling of being ‘on edge’ all the time.

In Australia, estimates that one in 14 children and young people experience anxiety, which can result from a range of contributing factors including difficult life experiences. Stay tuned over the next few weeks as we consider how anxiety develops in children and young people, what signs we can look out for, and what we can do to help.

The Wishing Well foundation

The Wishing Well was established in 2010 to offer children in out-of-home care, such as foster care and residential care, a range of healing and treatment options usually not accessible as a free therapy in mainstream health.

The Wishing Well raises funds to enable children and young people to access developmentally-appropriate and trauma-informed treatments shown to be highly effective in dealing with severe trauma and neglect. These therapies respond to the unique needs of each child and young person.

The Wishing Well is a not-for-profit incorporated charity organisation, established and managed by people seeking to improve outcomes for children and young people in out-of-home care and their families. The Wishing Well recognises the importance of the act of giving. We recognise the significance of the participation of community members and all donations are most appreciated.

The Wishing Well operates ethically, effectively and empathically with a view to achieving quality outcomes and a satisfying working environment.

Support the Wishing Well

The Wishing Well uses its funds to help children in need access all manners of developmentally-appropriate and trauma-informed treatments. The Wishing Well takes referrals for any child/young person in out-of-home care in NSW.  Applications are assessed by qualified personnel and on a case-by-case basis.  The decision to fund an application is affected by the following:

  • Funding availability
  • The support the child/young person has to access the proposed therapies
  • The capacity and willingness of the Carer Household to support the child/young person
  • Assessment, which recommends and supports the proposed therapy as relevant to meeting the particular needs of the child/young person

The Wishing Well gratefully receives donations, funding and resources through bequests, corporate partnerships, fundraising events, grants, online donations and other fund raising activities. Money donated to The Wishing Well enables traumatised children access to healing therapies. Please see our website for more information:


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