A free program that provides daily text messages to Alberta’s young people providing support, encouragement and inspiration through the pandemic has seen more than 800 subscribers join the program in the first six months since it was introduced.
The More Good Days program, sponsored by Alberta Blue Cross® and the Mental Health Foundation in partnership with Kickstand, was developed to respond to the rising rates of mental health issues youth are experiencing due to COVID-19.
According to a Stats Canada survey on the effects of COVID-19, “Young adults aged 18 to 24 [are the] most likely to report symptoms of depression, anxiety and posttraumatic stress disorder.” The positivity rate when screening for these mental illnesses was over three times higher in this age range than older adults.
Back in April of this year, Alberta Blue Cross® and the Mental Health Foundation partnered with Kickstand to launch More Good Days—a program funded by Alberta Blue Cross® that provides support to youth ages 12 to 24 who are facing social isolation, stress and anxiety due to COVID-19. This unique service offers free text messages that are written by youth themselves to bring more relevance to the messaging.
Dr. Agyapong, psychiatrist lead, Edmonton Zone, Alberta Health Services, helped create More Good Days. “Internationally, it is being increasingly recognized that the involvement of young people in designing [mental health] interventions targeted at young persons is essential,” he says. “The increased length of the program is expected to benefit individuals who have more chronic and enduring mental health symptoms.”
The Institute found that 81.5 per cent of participants experienced improvement across the 30 months following the programs being in place for a wide range of health indicators. Equally important, from an economic perspective the study findings also provide an indicator of cost savings to benefit plans—as the Institute extrapolated a corresponding 14 per cent reduction in claims volume resulting from healthier employee populations with reduced plan utilization.
Among those using the program so far, after a six-week period, survey data shows that 88 per cent of users scored an eight or above regarding their satisfaction with the program with 10 being very satisfied. 59 per cent of subscribers have also stated that they re-read the text messages that they have been sent from More Good Days to help improve their mood or mental state.
Young people are still invited to participate in the program by texting ‘MoreGoodDays’ to 393939 to receive these daily text messages for free.
“Courage doesn’t always roar, but sometimes courage is a quiet voice at the end of the day saying I will try again tomorrow,” Says Melissa, a youth who contributed messaging to the program.
Learn more at: https://mykickstand.ca/ongoing-support#moregooddays
For more information please contact
Sharmin Hislop, Corporate Communications director, Alberta Blue Cross®