While the COVID-19 pandemic enters its second year, the mental health of Canadians continues to suffer as levels of anxiety, depression and loneliness increase.
The Centre of Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) says that approximately one in five Canadians are currently reporting high levels of mental distress. This distress consists of moderate to severe levels of anxiety along with frequent feelings of depression.
Immense feelings of loneliness and isolation are also evident. An Ipsos poll conducted between April 3 and 7, surveyed 1006 Canadians over the age of 18. The poll revealed that 54 per cent of Canadians currently feel lonely or isolated due to physical distancing and a lack of connection amidst the pandemic.
The decline of mental health has resulted in many people turning to digital therapy. This has generated an increase in the usage and creation of wellbeing apps.
The Organization for the Review of Care and Health Apps (ORCHA), reported a 7,500 per cent increase in searches for health apps related to the prevention of harm, an 86 per cent increase in searches for mental health apps for the treatment of anxiety, and a 176 per cent increase in apps dedicated to the management of depression.
There are seemingly endless options to choose from, but one stands out. Rightfully so, the Headspace app has been a popular choice.
While downloads have more than doubled throughout COVID-19, Headspace is helping over 70 million users in more than 190 countries. The app aims to spread health and happiness through mindfulness meditation, and it does so successfully.
Headspace provides a multitude of resources. Users can access a wide variety of courses, guided meditations, soothing sounds, movement exercises, sleep casts, mindful videos, focus music and more. Research proves these resources to be effective.
An internal study by the Mindfulness journal shows that after only 10 days of usage, Headspace can reduce stress levels by 14 per cent. The study also illustrates increased levels of self-compassion, positivity and wellbeing following 10 days of usage. Separate studies conducted by Northeastern University found that three weeks of the app can increase compassion by 23 per cent and reduce aggression by 57 per cent. Headspace says these benefits are primarily gained through meditation.
Personable coaches and teachers help to build up parts of the brain during guided meditation sessions and courses. The brain is rewired to enhance focus, decision-making and other positive traits while diminishing negative traits such as stress and fear. More positive thinking and less negative thinking. Something crucial amidst such distressing times.
Headspace creates a healthier and happier space in the mind. A good space to be in.