EDMONTON — In hopes of brightening the day of those in need of a pick-me-up, Alberta Health Services has launched a new supportive text messaging program.
The Text4Mood program allows northern Alberta residents to sign up to receive one or two positive texts every day. Anyone is welcome to sign up, but AHS said the program is designed to help people with mental health issues, including depression and anxiety.
“One of the biggest benefits of this program is that the support is immediate and can act as an intervention while a patient is, for example, between appointments or receiving other care,” Dr. Vincent Agyapong said. Agyapong is an adult psychiatrist in Fort McMurray who developed the program in partnership with Addiction and Mental Health in the North Zone of AHS.
Candace Hawco, 37, is a patient of Agyapong’s. The Fort McMurrary woman has experienced depression since she was 15. Hawco took part in the program’s pilot phase and said the daily text messages help keep her going.
“I love it,” Hawco said. “There are days where I feel low, my phone dings and, when I look, it’ll be a positive message. I look forward to receiving them. They’re encouraging, motivating.”
The program is not meant to replace other therapy, AHS said; it’s an added support to someone’s overall care plan.
“We see a lot of people who are struggling with depression and this is just another service to offer them,” Debra Samek, director of Addiction and Mental Health for AHS North Zone, said.
The service, which launched Wednesday, is completely confidential.
To sign up, you can text “MOOD” to 760-670-3130, call HealthLink at 811 or visit Alberta Health Service’s website.
© 2016 Shaw Media