SASKATOON -- Morgana Scully has anxiety and depression and has found that face masks help her keep focused on what matters.

“Its been nice because you don’t have to focus so much on the facial expressions,” she said.

Masks also make it easier to hide things when she’s having a bad day, she said.

Alana Demkiw works at a bar and says she is often told by customers to smile more. With the mask it doesn’t come up anymore, which is allows her to focus on her work.

“The performance is a huge part of my job. Servers have to be smiling and laughing all the time and now we have a little bit of freedom with that,” she said.

“I don’t have to laugh at the old, tired jokes like ‘oh you forgot my beer I guess I don’t have to pay for it then, ha ha ha.’ It’s been really nice to communicate without the expectation of a fake smile.”

This residual positive effect of mask-wearing takes away some self awareness, according to a professor of psychology at the University of Saskatchewan.

“Anytime where our personal identity is hidden it can lead to a little bit of dampening our self consciousness. The positive of it is how we can go out and not worry about what we look like,” Jan Gelech said.

That sense of blending into the group can be very positive and safe place for those dealing with social anxiety.

However, anonymity has the potential to increase behaviour in some people that they normally wouldn’t do, Gelech said.

“Social psychologists would start to wonder are we going to see an increase in uninhibited behaviour. I’m not saying there is any evidence this is actually happening yet, but interestingly a lot of research has been done on Halloween masks indicating this is true.”

In those cases, children wearing costumes in which they can’t be identified would engage in thefts or vandalism where they wouldn’t have before, Gelech said.