MoreGoodDays – an e-mental health program to bridge the mental health treatment gap for the youth in Alberta

We know it can be hard to cope with everything that “growing up” throws at us, we’ve been there. Exacerbating this, young people now face being physically separated from important people in their support system.
Partnering with Alberta Health Services and University of Alberta Clinical Professor and Principal Investigator, Dr Vincent Agyapong, AB-IYSI is launching MoreGooDays, an innovative program to try and alleviate these struggles. MoreGoodDays is a daily dose of inspiration and advice delivered to users’ phones via text message. It is an evidence-based, evidence-generating tool proven to be helpful in developing healthy coping skills and resiliency.
In Phase 1, messages were written by mental health clinicians and polished by young people from Alberta. We are gearing up for Phase 2 — featuring messages created by young people, for young people and vetted by clinicians. MoreGoodDays is a small but important first step to help young people have more good days.

Presenters and slide deck

Yu (Jenny) Xin Li, Youth Action Council Member

Jenny Li (they/them) is a lifelong advocate of mental health education. Having struggled with mental illness for the better part of their life, Jenny knows the consequences of stigma. Jenny finds strength in their past and their pain. Their goal is to invite candid conversations about emotional wellness.  Jenny is the Chief Executive Director of Free Your Mind Mental Health Society (FYM), a provincially registered not-for-profit organization. FYM hosts the Speak Your Mind Program -- a social media and blogging initiative-- and a dynamic Events Team. FYM is entirely youth-led and empowers its members to pursue leadership in mental health advocacy. Jenny joined Kickstand in the spring of 2020. They participated in a number of youth focus groups, gave feedback on website development, and shared their story under the Kickstand brand. Jenny continues to represent the Calgary area as a member of Kickstand’s Youth Action Council.

Rachal Pattison, Research Manager

Rachal Pattison (they/them) is a mental health clinician & research manager at Kickstand, in Edmonton, AB. They are a registered occupational therapist, specializing in mental health, and they worked with incarcerated persons for 6 years before returning to school for graduate studies. They recently completed a Master’s degree from the University of British Columbia, doing research in the area of gender identity and mental health in young people. When Rachal is not working on establishing an integrated youth service model in Alberta, they can be found reading fantasy novels, eating nachos and catering to the whims of their co-dependent cat.

Pamela Liversidge, Executive Director

Pam brings 20 years of strategic level policy and program experience within the health and social sector; she worked in the BC provincial government to develop province-wide strategies in areas such as child welfare, indigenous housing, and mental health & substance use. She was the Acting Executive Director of Foundry in 2019, where she worked with the existing Foundry network and several ministries to move Foundry from a ‘startup’, to a sustained and expanding part of the health and social service ecosystem in BC. She joined Foundry in 2015 as the Director of Policy and Partnerships. Pam moved to Edmonton at the end of 2019 to lead the Alberta Integrated Youth services Initiative, now known as Kickstand. While her career has spanned many different areas, her heart has always been in working with youth. Pam started her career as a youth addictions worker in the community of Surrey.

Dr. Vincent Agyapong, Clinical Professor, University of Alberta

Key Learnings

  • Kickstand is an Alberta integrated youth services initiative, looking to establish easily accessible integrated youth centers, using non-traditional access points including online and web-based services. Kickstand partnered with Dr Vincent Agyapong to create an evidence-based, supportive text messaging program called MoreGoodDays, in an effort to help young Albertans to build their capacity for coping and resiliency
  • The MoreGoodDays program is an e-mental health program that sends daily CBT-based supportive text messages, crafted by mental health professionals & in partnership with people with lived experience, to a subscriber’s phone. Kickstand engaged with 26 Albertans, aged 13-26 years, to revamp these messages in order to make the language more accessible and the content more relevant for their peers.
  • Kickstand is currently working on the next phase of the MoreGoodDays program and is engaging young Albertans to write their own messages of support, to extend the program from 3-months to 12 months of supportive messages. Young people can sign up today for MoreGoodDays by texting “MoreGoodDays” to 393939! (standard data rates apply)

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