Putting you in the driver’s seat of your panic

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PanicMechanic is a tool that puts you in the driver’s seat of your panic, helping you take control. PanicMechanic is an interactive app that uses the concept of biofeedback to coach you through your panic attacks. It was created by experts to help you understand your panic and triggers.

How it works

When you feel a panic attack coming on, open the app and it will prompt you to place your finger on your phone’s video camera. Several times throughout the attack, your body’s panic response will be recorded. You will also record stress levels, exercise patterns, and lifestyle habits that might help predict future panic attacks. The app lets you watch your body’s panic response decrease as your panic attack ends. After you’ve logged at least one attack, the app can start giving you information such as, “Based on your average attack, you only have 2 more minutes until the end! You got this!” You can see your panic attack history and learn for yourself what circumstances make you most likely to have an attack. 

Why it works

Research on panic and anxiety suggests that by tracking your body’s fear response, you will be able to anticipate your pattern of responding which will help you gain control of your anxiety. By using PanicMechanic during several panic attacks, you will learn how your body will likely respond to certain situations and triggers. 

Media Coverage

New UVM Developed App Could Help Panic Attack Sufferers During Coronavirus Pandemic

UVM News Link

Taking Control: A New Vermont Made App Helps Users Manage Panic Attacks

7-Days Link

PanicMechanic App Could Help Americans with Panic Attacks

CBS News Link


Our founding team has expertise in clinical psychology, biomedical engineering, and data science and brings direct experience developing digital health technologies

This is personal

I suffered from panic attacks. I was in graduate school for clinical psychology, meanwhile, at home I was experiencing a couple of panic attacks a week. I was hyperventilating, my heart was pounding, I felt dizzy. It felt like they were lasting forever. In one of my classes, I heard about the concept of biofeedback from my professor. I tried it out on myself for about 3 weeks- during each panic attack I had. That was in spring 2012. That was the last time I ever had a panic attack. 

I thought not everyone should have to get a PhD in clinical psychology to have access to tools that help manage panic. I talked with my husband, a biomedical engineer, who knew how to implement biofeedback concepts in a smartphone app. We thought this would be a perfect opportunity to get help to anyone who needed it, whenever and where ever they were having a panic attack.

That discussion led us on a multiple year journey of research into panic attacks, writing grants and starting a company to ultimately create the PanicMechanic app. Eight years later are now both professors, co-founders of our company, and effectively managing our panic. We are so excited PanicMechanic is finally a reality and we hope that you become your own success story.

Who we are. 

Ellen McGinnis is a Clinical Psychologist and Ryan McGinnis is a Biomedical Engineer. They are co-founders of PanicMechanic, internationally-recognized researchers, Assistant Professors at University of Vermont, and parents of two wonderful boys.

Our Founders

Dr. Ryan S. McGinnis

Co-founder and CTO


Our CEO’s Story

Dr. Ellen W. McGinnis

Co-founder and CEO


Our research

We have published work on the algorithms underlying PanicMechanic and their use with individuals who suffer from panic attacks. We are currently conducting a clinical evaluation of PanicMechanic at the University of Vermont (Summer, 2020). We will update this website with more findings as they come in. Thank you for helping us advance our understanding of panic and its management by using PanicMechanic!

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