PASS kit (panic, anxiety and stress) created for mental health

 Editor’s note: For those wanting to purchase a kit, please check out or email Tina, 
Photo by Marco Pedri

Photo by Marco Pedri

University of Waterloo students Tina Chan and Alaaddin Sidahmed realized the lack, so they created the PASS kit, which stands for Panic Anxiety and Stress Support kit. Chan and Sidahmed first conceived the idea for the 2015 Big Ideas Challenge, a pitch competition hosted by the University of Waterloo’s faculty of applied health sciences.

“We thought … so everyone carried around, or should be carrying around, a first aid kit, but they aren’t carrying around a lot of things that help their mental health. So we decided to roll with that idea and have the mental health first aid kit. After doing further research and getting advice from UW counsellors we put this together,” said Chan.

The kit includes an eye mask, earplugs, a stress ball, flash cards and a card with all of the mental health crisis hotlines in case someone needs help the kit cannot offer. The eye mask and ear plugs help reduce anxiety when outside influences such as loud roommates are being disruptive, while the stress ball and gum help keep individuals occupied in times of high stress.

The flash cards are a unique feature of the kit. Each card offers tips and exercises like muscle relaxation to help people work through stress and anxiety on their own.

“The flashcards are essentially just different tips and ideas for what you can do,” explained Sidahmed.

“They’re condensed because we realized although there is a lot of literature around mental health, most of it is pretty dense.”

The kit was distributed to first-years in the St. Paul’s University College for the pilot study to help students deal with their transition from high school to university, which can be a highly stressful time. Not only is it a significant leap in lifestyle and practices, but it is also happening in a period of time that is formative for students.

“During their times of need when help is unavailable, we offer a glitch-free solution to guide them away from unhealthy work behaviours and toward healthy ones,” Chan explained.

Rather than aiming to replace counseling services or professional assistance, Chan and Sidahmed both hope the kit will be able teach people how to manage and assist their own mental health needs on a day-to-day basis by practicing healthy coping mechanisms.

Spreading awareness is also one of the major aims of the PASS kit, as despite continuing efforts to bring the prevalence of mental illness to light, there remains a large stigma around mental health.

“If I’m using the kit and I see you using the kit, we have a common understanding even if we don’t talk a lot. We both know we’re dealing with something or we’re doing our best to get through it,” said Sidahmed.

Although only a handful of first-years at UW were included in the pilot study, Chan and Sidahmed are hoping to expand to Wilfrid Laurier University and the tri-city universities in the future.

“For a lot of institutions it’s definitely becoming an issue they don’t know how to manage maybe because the first solution people come up with is counseling. There is never going to be enough counsellors to meet the demands of students so there has to be something else in that period of time to assist students and that’s what we’re hoping the kit will do.”


  1. Where can we get this kit from would love to have one as a sufferer of depression and anxiety I feel the kit could help

  2. This is great. I need this. How do I get one?

  3. I’m another person who wants to know how I can get one of these! At least the flash cards!

  4. Peppermint oil, lavender oil and some rose spray, toooooooo —-

  5. Anyone whose looking for one of these, email Tina and let her know. She will answer your questions.

  6. Where and how can we get one? Cost? (PLEASE be reasonably priced!!)

  7. Utterly useless. This has to be the most idiotic piece of crap idea I’ve heard in a long time.

  8. I hate quick fix bullshit

  9. A six-pack of beer is much better.

  10. Thank you ,I have everything for my kit but gum,flash cards & WHY ? Some body tell me soon all these days I deal with anxiety & bad sufferof depression.Thank you a lot .I going to make me two kits 1 for home & put one in my car while going on trips .

  11. Every LU Barrie student needs one of these… Like right now

  12. Add me to the list of those wanting a kit. I live in London, Ontario and know of many folks who would buy one.

  13. Yes☺️ Where can u purchase these kits?
    I suffer from anxiety.

  14. Wild Orange Essential Oil is fantastic for calming and is very affordable as well. If you would like to try some samples I would be happy to send you some! Mental Health and stress reduction is very near an dear to my heart!

  15. I’d love to get a kit like this! It’s there a way?

  16. I would like to know how to get the flash cards , what do they say ?

  17. where can I get the cards ?

  18. But where’s the xanax?
    Ah I’m kidding….. Essencial oils would be a great help in this kit.

  19. i encourage people who understand the ubiquitous nature of anxiety or depression, anger, or fear or the combo of all of those at different times to consider a non-spiritual meditation practice that consists of at least the first 3 branches of Raja Yoga (traditional meditation)
    There are plenty of resources that can be dug up online where you can find all the info you need to begin practice.
    If you start with mastering your own breathing, and practice the art and skill of being still (when you ask your body to, not by accident, but on purpose) it becomes a ot easier to let the hornets nest of thoughts settle and become productive on your own terms.
    meditation is something we can all do as a practice.
    i lived with anxiety for 2 years of my life and it dominated me.
    if this is sounding like self-help i am sorry because that is exactly what it is, and we can all do it – its free, it is ungendered, unbiased, and equally challenging to all, but practice the master skill of raja yoga and you will take back the power of beleif and of your mind from the toxic mindscapes that dominate you and your life.
    again, no new age mumbo jumbo, no new ageyness, nothing spiritual about this. its an excersize, like working out.
    its like introversion practice basically, the skill of going further inwards.
    stay magickal

  20. they could probably make it for under $5.00 shopping at on-line and craft stores

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