The chest pains began after I was laid off from a job I’d desperately wanted to leave. Regular and often debilitating, they prompted a trip to the emergency room where, thankfully, I learned I wasn’t having a heart attack. Later, my family doctor diagnosed me with anxiety. However positive I believed it to be, my major life change was stressing me out — and I needed help.
I’d used psychotherapy before to get through difficult moments. But this time I saw an opportunity to explore some techy tools to supplement my weekly therapy sessions. By using a few key apps that use a mixture of cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) techniques and meditation, I was able to get a grip on my anxiety faster. It’s a regimen I still use regularly, even though my symptoms are in check now, and it has been a lifesaver.
In a world where technology gets blamed for a range of mental health issues — from screen-time-related sleep deprivation to depression and anxiety over social media — it’s encouraging to know that tech can actually be part of the solution.
And these solutions are much needed. According to the Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA), mental illness affects us all, regardless of age, income, education or culture. In fact, 50 percent of the population have or have had a mental illness by age 40. Additionally, nearly half of those who say they have suffered from anxiety or depression have never talked to a doctor about their issues.