A program developed by a Fort McMurray physician, Alberta Health Services, and the Mental Health North Zone is being recognized on an international stage.
Doctor Vincent Agyapong, along with the aforementioned groups, developed the “Text4Mood” program back in January 2016. The idea is to give people in Fort McMurray and surrounding areas who struggle with a mental health illness supportive messages through text.
Agyapong tells Mix News over 11,000 have already used the program.
“For example, a message that may comeback could be to keep on hoping and believing that things will get better, that they generally do get better, so keep going and take it one day at a time.”
The messages are already pre-written by mental health counselors and different patients.
Agyapong adds this is by no means a substitute for meeting with someone face-to-face, one-on-one.
“We’re always quick to stress that this is an add-on service that people can get, so if you’re still having depression symptoms like anxiety, for example, you still need to go talk to your mental health providers or your family doctor and an appropriate referral can be put in place.”
The program, which has found its way to some people in Edmonton and Calgary, was recently recognized by the Mental Health Innovation Network which is headquartered with the Worth Health Organization.
There is now a link and information about the benefits of the program on their website.
“The next step is to hopefully move the Text4Mood program to the entire province, we’ve received a grant from the Edmonton Health Foundation for a Text4Support program for the Edmonton Zone,” added Agyapong.
He says this program will specifically target people with mental health and addiction problems who’ve already attended sessions or gotten help in different ways.