A spotlight on Anxiety BC
By Mercedes Deutscher, News Editor
Since 1999, Anxiety BC has worked towards providing resources to those suffering from anxiety, including young adults and youth. The non-profit organization, which manifests most of its resources online, was started by a group of practitioners, scholars, and consumers.
Anxiety BC works by providing people with resources and guides to self-manage their anxiety. These resources are created by professors and psychologists who work in the mental health field. Anxiety BC does not provide services such as counselling, but it does send representatives to volunteer in the community, and assign staff to work on one-time projects. Anxiety BC accepts anyone who wishes to volunteer for the organization.
Many of the resources provided by Anxiety BC are geared toward youth engagement. For instance, the organization, along with the BC Children’s Hospital, developed an app a number of years ago called “MindShift.” The app encourages relaxation and suggests helpful ways of thinking for its users. MindShift has some tools that help specifically with education-related anxiety, such as test taking, worries over performance and perfection, and socializing.
Anxiety BC also created an annual contest in 2013 to increase youth discussion surrounding anxiety.
“The purpose is to engage youth in BC and to provide them with an outlet where they can express their thoughts and feelings about anxiety and mental health in expressive ways… to let them know that talking about mental health is not the only way that you can find a way to heal,” explained Vanessa Waechtler, a grant writer with Anxiety BC.
While the contest originally only included writing and video, it has since expanded to accept other forms of multimedia submissions, such as Instagram photos and infographics.
“We had no idea what to expect in the first year,” said Waechtler. “We received about 100 entries… we had a huge pool of content to pick from and it was all incredible and inspiring, so we were very happy with that.”
Due to the more web-based nature of the second contest, Anxiety BC only received 30 entries. As for this year, the organisation is returning to what worked out for the better in the original contest. Waechtler remains optimistic that this year will become the best-received contest to date.
The contest, which runs from now until March 31, is open to those between the ages of 17–29. There are $500 prizes available for the winners of the four categories, which are a prose category and mixed media category for those from 17–23, and an identical two categories for those between the ages of 24–29. A smaller $50 prize is available for the fan favourite winner, as well as multiple $50 prizes for honourable mentions.