History of AnDY

The Anxiety and Depression in Young People (AnDY) Research Unit began its life as the Berkshire Child Anxiety Clinic (BCAC), started in 1998 by Dr Lucy Willetts; a clinical psychologist within the NHS in West Berkshire, and Professor Peter Cooper; a professor at the University of Reading. In its early days, the clinic was solely focused on identifying difficulties with anxiety among children aged 7-12, in order to guide their care and identify those who may be suitable and willing to take part in research.

At this time, the clinic was only able to see and assess a maximum of two families per week. In 2003, Lucy and Peter were joined by Professor Cathy Creswell. Together they were successful in obtaining some large research grants which enabled the clinic to expand to offer assessments and treatment to children from both East and West Berkshire. This development saw them working with around 400 new families per year. In 2011, the clinic became accessible to even more families when Dr. Polly Waite achieved research grant funding, allowing the clinic to further expand to include adolescents with anxiety disorders.

The arrival of Professor Shirley Reynolds in 2012 led to further expansion of our research and clinic work to include young people experiencing depression – bringing with it the name AnDY to represent the breadth of our work. We have worked closely with our NHS colleagues throughout the history of BCAC/AnDY, particularly the Berkshire Healthcare Foundation Trust (BHFT) Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service (CAMHS) Anxiety and Depression Pathway.

In 2017, we saw the initiation of a new, University-run clinical service. Previously, AnDY conducted assessments to check eligibility for research, while treatment delivery was the responsibility of the BHFT CAMHS service. From 2017, however, in order to compliment BHFT CAMHS, we began providing brief evidence-based treatments for children and young people before they reached BHFT CAMHS, as well as providing a high quality research and training environment. This makes AnDY a unique service combining research and treatment within a University environment.