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More Good Days

Jan 15, 2023 | Key Initiatives

Kickstand and Alberta Blue Cross launch supportive message service for youth in Alberta

MoreGoodDays program provides young people with text-based mental health support

Alberta Blue Cross and the Mental Health Foundation have partnered with Kickstand to launch MoreGoodDays—a mental wellness messaging service that delivers daily advice and inspiration to young people’s phones. Young people across Alberta can text ‘MoreGoodDays’ to 393939 to receive these daily text messages for free.

MoreGoodDays is the first program launched by Kickstand—formerly the Alberta Integrated Youth Services Initiative—following consultation with youth and families. Young people have been significantly impacted by the loss of socialization, routine, and extracurricular activities during the pandemic, but reaching out for support can be challenging. MoreGoodDays eliminates barriers by providing automated messages of encouragement to help young people shift their perspective and provide something positive to build on as they manage their mental health.

Conceived following the success of Text4Hope, MoreGoodDays launched in the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic to support mental health using Cognitive Behavioural Therapy principles. Created and developed by Dr. Vincent Agyapong, Psychiatrist Lead, Edmonton Zone, Alberta Health Services, the program’s findings demonstrated a significant improvement in reported rates of mental health distress.

Kickstand worked alongside Dr. Agyapong to develop an adaptation of the supportive texting service tailored especially for youth. This meant ensuring that the content and tone of the daily messages was not only youth-friendly but created by young people themselves.The unique messages were reviewed by 26 young Albertans and designed to connect, encourage and empower.

Text Conversation about More Good Days

After over a year, the pandemic is still here and it’s still affecting all of us. Young people have been hit especially hard in many ways. Socialization and school are formative for young people and the pandemic drastically changed both. When feeling low, a simple text can have big impacts on helping young people shift their perspective and boost their mental health. Initiatives like this are critical because they meet our young people where they are.”

– Brian Geislinger, Vice-President, Corporate Relations, Alberta Blue Cross

“I think more often than not, we underestimate the impact of services specifically curated for what we need,” says 18 year old Trinity Ramos, a member of Kickstand’s Youth Advisory Council. “When certain demographics aren’t represented, it is difficult for the service to actually connect with the people it is meant for. When I learned about MoreGoodDays I realized how unique and accommodating the approach was. A lot of young people will be able to relate more and feel welcomed into the safe space that MoreGoodDays is trying to create.”

Evidence-based and research-supported, MoreGoodDays gives youth a tool to help self-regulate, leading to greater emotional control. Anxiety, stress, and depression are reduced by as much as 25%.

“Equipping young people with basic mental health knowledge is so important in improving mental well-being and reducing the stigma surrounding it,” says Pam Liversidge, Executive Director of Kickstand. “Initiatives like MoreGoodDays take small steps to educating young people about mental health while also caring for their mental health. During a time when connection and encouragement can be hard to come by, the simple messages can make a big difference.”

” From the early days of the pandemic, organizations across the community have generously enabled unique solutions to the consequences of social isolation. We’re incredibly grateful to Alberta Blue Cross for partnering with us to deliver accessible and affordable mental health support to Alberta youth who are struggling.

– Deborah McKinnon, Mental Health Foundation, President & CEO

The program is funded by donations from Alberta Blue Cross’s community foundation