Making exposure therapy more engaging to young people with anxiety

I’ve been particularly impressed with how Shift have embraced the research literature and taken a genuine collaborative approach, working in a systematic and thorough way. They are passionate about involving the end users throughout the process, to ensure that their products meet the needs and wants of those who will use them.

Claire Hill, Clinical Postdoctoral Research Fellow, Clinical Psychologist, University of Reading

The Problem

Around 40,000 young people are affected by anxiety in the UK. Only 1 in 4 receive much needed support. The ones who are low-medium risk of anxiety are often stuck on a 18 months long waiting list or drop off and grow into adulthood with different manifestations of anxiety such as depression.


A game based on the use of graded exposures that can be used by non-practitioners to provide early support for 8-12 year old young people.

“Thanks so much for a brilliantly inspiring day! It was great to see so many talented, energetic people, committed to supporting children with mental health problems, all in one room and totally focused on what could really be a lifesaver for some children.”

Adele, parent of a young person with anxiety and participant in co-creation workshop

So far…

  • Literature review of anxiety, CBT, exposure and game design
  • Interviews and conversations with young people, parents, teachers, GPs, commissioners and therapists
  • Building a network of experts and practitioners
  • Co-creation with therapists to build the therapeutic basis for the solution
  • Co-creation session with games designers, parents, teachers and therapists to create broad games concepts
  • Funded feasibility study underway
  • User centered innovation (in progress)


The journey a young person with anxiety takes through clinical pathways.

June 26, 2018

40,000 aged 5-16 are affected by anxiety in England and the average waiting time for treatment is 18 months. See our infographic detailing the journey a young person with anxiety takes through clinical pathways.

Manjul Rathee

Key aspects of CBT and gamification to treat children with anxiety

April 3, 2018

A literature review and expert consultation into the key aspects of childhood anxiety, CBT and gamification.





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