App helps youth tap into effective strategies to manage anxiety

It’s that time of year when many households around the country are adjusting from summer to fall schedules. Often for young people and families that means a faster pace with increasingly more demands on our time; and with that sometimes the unwanted stress and anxiety of trying to keep up with all the changes.

Now there’s a new free, easy-to-use App to help young people cope with feelings of anxiety. The “MindShift” app is the result of a joint collaboration between BC Mental Health & Addiction Services, an agency of BC’s Provincial Health Services Authority, and AnxietyBC.

Anxiety is a natural, adaptive response when people feel unsafe or threatened.  Everyone feels nervous and worried at times, but anxiety can be a problem when it is persistent, intense, and stops people from doing fun and important things they want or need to do.

MindShift is designed to help youth learn how to relax, develop more helpful ways of thinking, and identify active steps that will help them take charge of their anxiety. This app includes strategies to deal with everyday anxiety, as well as specific tools to tackle:

• test anxiety

• perfectionism

• social anxiety

• performance anxiety

• worry, panic and conflict.

MindShift is free and is available through the iTunes app store and Google Play. It works on both iOS and Android devices.

“Young people today are connected and mobile; it is important for us to provide resources that are relevant to them, says Dr. Connie Coniglio, Provincial Executive Director, Children and Women’s Mental Health and Substance Use Programs, BC Mental Health & Addiction Services. “The MindShift app is like a portable coach, confidentially giving you tips, whenever and wherever you need them, to help you face your anxiety and take control in challenging situations.”

BC Mental Health & Addiction Services (BCMHAS), an agency of BC’s Provincial Health Services Authority, provides specialized tertiary mental health and substance use services for children, adolescents and adults across BC. Together, BCMHAS and PHSA are transforming healthcare through innovation.

As communities across the country mark Mental Illness Awareness Week (6-12 Oct 2013) this October, BCMHAS is encouraging people to be part of the open discussion on mental health and reminding people to check with their community health care providers for more information on resources in their community.

BCMHAS resources include: The Kelty Mental Health Resource Centre providing mental health and substance use resources and information for children, youth and families, and Information, resources and interactive quizzes designed specifically for youth and young adults to help them identify and understand mental distress they may be experiencing, including anxiety and depression, and link them to sources of help.