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Helping teens manage anxiety with tools tailored for them


With thousands of teens around the province suffering, The Anxiety Disorders Association of British Columbia (AnxietyBC) turned to BSTRO to provide a highly portable and accessible coping solution.

  • clientAnxietyBC
  • industryHealth & Education, Nonprofit


AnxietyBC approached our creative agency with a unique need: a tool to help young adults aged 18-24 better cope with their mild to moderate anxiety symptoms, at any time, anywhere they need it.

We quickly identified that an app was the ideal solution, because apps are available 24/7, so anxiety could be managed in real-life situations. The app could be customizable to address individual anxiety challenges, interactive, so that users could create, save, evaluate and refine plans for specific situations, and suitable to the needs of how young people use technology.

The result is MindShift: an on-the-go virtual coach named the #1 rated app on


  • Branding
  • Market Research
  • Focus Group Testing
  • Mobile App Design
  • App Development


In developing the MindShift app, we based our features on principles identified by mental health practitioners as being helpful to anxiety management, such as in-depth personalization and customization. We researched what other apps currently existed, what aspects/components of existing apps we liked or did not like, and what didn’t yet exist.


After talking with teens who would be using the app, the design brief became clear; MindShift needed to feel credible, inviting, not condescending, and have a discreet name and design. The branding centered around a stable, cool color, no gimmicks, and short, concise copy that didn’t try too hard – it felt like a professional talking to another person. We made the brand approachable, direct, and without excess. The goal was for it to be an efficient tool. We achieved this with clear type, a clean layout and a logo that was inviting and that would blend in with other app icons on a teen’s smartphone and not draw attention or questions.


To be sure the experts were right, we invited teens with anxiety into our office to conduct a focus group on effectiveness, usability, and helpfulness of the app. Through this focus group, we discovered ways to shape our expert-recommended app features in ways that would be well received by the young adults actually using them.


From paper wireframes, to sketches thru usability testing to high-fidelity designs to programming of a robust app that was updated several times with improvements that make it even more helpful.


Since its launch in June 2013, the MindShift app has exceeded client expectations, with hundreds of thousands of downloads, hundreds of 5-star reviews, and enthusiastic acclaim from mental health professionals and organizations. News of the app’s success has been featured on news outlets like, Fox News and BuzzFeed, and discussed on the CBC radio program “On The Coast” with Stephen Quinn and “Evening Rounds,” a monthly speaker series for healthcare communications professionals in Vancouver.

Best of all, heartfelt user reviews have attested to benefits of the MindShift app to calm worries and make anxiety ridden days feel more manageable.







This app changed my practice. I have found the Mindshift App is a wonderful resource for my patients. This app was developed initially for youth and young adults, however I have seen how valuable a resource it can be for all patient populations that can navigate a smartphone.

– Dr. Daniel Dodek, University of British Columbia


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