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

MoreGoodDays program launching to provide young people with text-based mental health support

Alberta Blue Cross and the Mental Health Foundation are partnering with Kickstand to launch MoreGoodDays—a mental wellness messaging service that delivers daily advice and inspiration to young people’s phones. 

Starting today, young people across Alberta can text ‘MoreGoodDays’ to 393939 to receive these daily text messages for free. 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 aims to eliminate 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.

“After over a year, the pandemic is still here and it’s still affecting all of us,” says Brian Geislinger, Vice-President, Corporate Relations, Alberta Blue Cross. “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.”

MoreGoodDays was conceived following the success of Text4Hope, 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.

“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, the approach gives subscribers a tool to help self-regulate, leading to greater emotional control, and anxiety, stress and depression reductions of as much as 25 per cent. 

“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.”

The program is funded by donations from Alberta Blue Cross’s community foundation. MoreGoodDays is the first program launched by Kickstand–formerly the Alberta Integrated Youth Services Initiative–following consultation with youth and families. Learn more on Kickstand’s website

Kickstand | @mykickstandca

Kickstand is the new name for Alberta’s Integrated Youth Services Initiative. The program aims to provide support to young people, aged 12 to 25, along with their caregivers and families, in the easiest way possible by coordinating and connecting a variety of service providers in a single location and through one online hub. Supports include mental health services, primary care, substance use services, peer support and social services. 

Alberta Blue Cross | @albertabluecross

As an Alberta-based, not-for-profit organization, Alberta Blue Cross covers more than 1.8 million Albertans and has a unique focus on supporting the health and wellness of Albertans. Alberta Blue Cross is ranked as one of Alberta’s Top 10 Most Loved Brands, as well as one of Alberta’s Top 25 Most Respected Organizations.

Mental Health Foundation | @MentalHealthAB

The Mental Health Foundation raises funds and mobilizes resources to improve outcomes within Alberta’s addiction and mental health care system. Our vision is to ensure an accessible, easy-to-navigate and fully integrated addiction and mental health care system in Alberta.