Live Better With Focus

When Greg Rennie and Marion Adams founded Hasu five years ago, their goal was simple – to make mental health and addiction support accessible to all Canadians.

Greg is an experienced Psychotherapist and addiction specialist whose clients would tell him that after treatment they wished they could go out into the real world with him in their pocket. For Greg, starting an online therapy company was a way to keep supporting not only his clients, but thousands of others across the country who needed help.

Marion was a university student who was not only dealing with the inevitable struggles that go along with this, but grieving a friend who died by suicide. Her world felt like it was collapsing and when she reached out for help, it wasn’t available. Unfortunately, at that time, this was not an unusual story, but this fuelled a fire inside her to create a safe and accessible place to support those who were struggling. For both Greg and Marion, the seed was planted, there was an urgent need, and Hasu was born!

The name Hasu comes from the lotus flower, which grows in muddy waters and blooms despite these conditions. Like the lotus flower, Greg and Marion believe that with the right support, anyone can change, grow and flourish. This beautiful metaphor will always be the backbone of their creation.

Five years and a pandemic later, we are fortunate that accessible virtual therapy is now our new “normal”. Devastatingly though, we are struggling more than ever. The effects of COVID-19 have caused immense and difficult changes to our daily lives, changes we weren’t prepared for. We are feeling more isolated, scared and unable to focus than ever before.

Our lack of focus has been largely due to the rise of technology and the influx of endless amounts of digital information. And now, in a pandemic, we’re feeling especially disconnected and more prone to switching between tabs, apps and tasks, leaving us completely overwhelmed and anxious. We have lost our ability to filter out the meaning from the noise as well as how to spend our time in ways that promote our wellbeing.

Everyone is wired differently, leaving some people struggling with attention more than others. However, if you’ve noticed any sudden changes in your ability to concentrate, including having a harder time finishing routine tasks, regularly misplacing things, making more errors than usual, you’re not alone and don’t ignore it.

Our Clinical Manager Darlene Cyrus-Blaize, RP, has three tips to focus during these very pressing times…

  1. Pace yourself: Working from home makes it even harder to focus. Aside from multiple work responsibilities, caring for loved ones and all the day to day tasks are right in front of us, demanding our attention. Contrary to popular belief, we are not built to multi-task so it is crucial that you pace yourself and be okay with just doing what you have the capacity to do. So Darlene can deliver the best care for her clients, she limits counselling sessions to only four a day.
  2. Get perspective: Being in the same environment day to day makes it difficult to get out of our heads and attain perspective on what really matters to us. We are so overwhelmed by the flurry of decisions coming our way that we are actually not achieving meaningful goals. It’s important to move away from your environment and into a space where you can see things differently, tune into priorities and give your brain a rest! For Darlene, this means taking walking breaks regularly.
  3. You deserve support: When we’re in overdrive, we tend to do the things that actually make us feel worse. Speaking to a mental health professional can help us work through all the negative emotions we’re experiencing and help us focus on our needs. Participating in her own virtual therapy is essential to Darlene to prevent burnout, which leads to difficulty focussing.


Live better with Focus 

Focus Mental Wellness reflects a vision to focus on the needs of our therapists and clients first and foremost so that they, in turn, can focus on feeling and living better. We’ve refreshed our logo to embody who we are today and to symbolize our future.

With Focus, Canadians can still conveniently connect with a therapist who meets their unique needs via video, phone or text for a fraction of the cost of traditional therapy and know that when they reach out, they will be matched with someone who will be truly focussed on helping them make their lives the best they can be.

Written by Julie Sabine, Chief Strategy Officer, Focus Mental Wellness


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