If storms give you anxiety after Hurricane Harvey, therapy is available online

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HOUSTON — Because of Harvey, a lot of people still feel anxiety every time it rains.

But you don’t have to bottle it in.

There’s a free app called “Onto Better Health” that allows people to get confidential cognitive behavioral therapy at home.

UTHealth offers the app, thanks to funding from the Hurricane Harvey Relief Fund.

The programs are designed to help people dealing with anxiety disorders, moderate depression, chronic pain, obsessive-compulsive disorder, substance use, and sleep difficulties.

Summer Danner, program coordinator of the psychiatry & behavioral sciences department at the McGovern Medical School at UTHealth, says rain, thunder, lightning, and watching flood coverage on the news can trigger panic attacks for people whose homes flooded before.

One of the programs, called FearFighter, takes participants through video breathing exercises designed to calm heart rates.

“The different apps have been validated by 12 clinical trials, so they do work,” said Danner. “Historically, there have been some pretty stressful and traumatic events with flooding and weather. It’s a natural response to that stress. There’s no reason to feel ashamed to reach out for help.”

Click here to learn more about the app.


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