Fellow Portrait

Ania Wysocka

Simply Rooted Media Inc.


The Rootd app is an interactive, on-demand tool for managing anxiety and panic attacks.

03. Good Health and Well-Being

05. Gender Equality

10. Reduced Inequalities


North America





Anxiety is widespread but still carries stigma

Anyone who has had a panic attack knows how crippling they can be–and how difficult to communicate to someone who hasn’t experienced one.

Anxiety, which includes panic attacks, is the most prevalent mental health issue in the world, affecting approximately 31 percent of adults and dragging down economies as well—the US loses US$46.6 billion annually because of anxiety disorders (source: The American Journal of Managed Care). Yet, as debilitating as anxiety can be, other factors such as fear of stigma, inaccessible resources, and financial constraints mean that two-thirds of sufferers never seek treatment.

When Ania Wysocka, founder of Simply Rooted Media Inc., experienced a panic attack during her fourth year at university, it seemed to come out of nowhere. “I didn't understand what it was or what was happening. It became debilitating because I didn't have the resources to get support to start healing,” she says.

But she did have one thing that was always with her: her phone. “This made me think, okay, there should definitely be an app.”

Reducing stigma around mental health is huge and making it more financially accessible is key. I’d like to contribute to making mental health care and these important resources more accessible, whether people have a financial barrier or a stigma barrier.


An app offers stigma-free relief anywhere, anytime

Ania, who had studied international relations, taught herself skills to create the app that became Rootd, an interactive, on-demand tool for managing anxiety and panic attacks. She worked with a student developer to create features such as The Rootr, a panic button to swiftly end panic attacks based on cognitive behavioral therapy techniques. “The button walks you through a panic attack. That’s huge because it's an in-the-moment tool,” Ania says. “When you’re actually suffering, you can use it and feel better within minutes.” The app also includes tools for sleep, breathing, visualization, and journaling, and lessons that change how the brain relates to anxiety for longer term benefits.

She and the team focused on making the app as engaging as possible so users will trust Rootd in private and feel comfortable using it in public. A personal stats page tracks the number of panic attacks survived, lessons completed, and “warrior points,” adding the dimension of gamification for further engagement. “What sets Rootd apart is the founder’s lived experience. I have the understanding and the voice to describe anxiety and panic attacks,” Ania says.

Rooted is available when you can't call your counselor in the middle of the night. It’s always there for you on your phone.


Rootd comforts millions around the world

More than two million people in 150 countries have downloaded the Rootd app, which ranks number one for panic attack and anxiety relief on iOS and in Google play. “We're available in ten languages. We see the impact through user reviews and from people sharing how Rootd has helped them go back to school or work or deal with significant trauma,” Ania says.

She notes some of the many people benefitting from the app, such as Ukrainians and Russians who began using the app and asking if it would be available in their languages. “We translated into Ukrainian and Russian based on user demand, and are always learning how to make Rootd even more accessible to those that can benefit from it. Eventually I hope to reach over 10 million users around the world. I want Rootd to be the key resource users can rely on in case of a panic attack and for making healthy changes in their lives.”

As Rootd expands its user base, millions no longer will have to face the difficult moments of panic and anxiety alone.

I hear from users that the app genuinely helps them at a really confusing and debilitating time in their lives. I heard from a very young girl whose parents bought her a Rootd subscription and an older man in a senior home whose nurses said it is the only thing that has calmed him.