Albertans seeking more support during the COVID-19 pandemic can now sign up for Text4Hope, a free, supportive text messaging service developed by Alberta Health Services (AHS).
Launched today, Text4Hope sends subscribers a daily text message of support and encouragement to ease the stress and anxiety they might be feeling. These texts might remind subscribers to focus on positive thinking or suggest actions to help them manage their mood.
Albertans can text COVID19Hope to 393939 to subscribe.
Mike Meldrum, President and CEO of Calgary Health Trust, recognizes the emerging need for this important service. "We are proud to step up in this initiative that is providing care beyond the front-lines to people who are being impacted in many different ways. We remain ready and willing to help ensure that the best care is available for Albertans."
“We can already feel the effects of COVID-19 in all our lives. Our routines have been turned upside down, and social distancing may create a sense of disconnection for many,” says AHS President and CEO Dr. Verna Yiu. “We’re proud to partner with the Mental Health Foundation and other healthcare foundations in bringing the Text4Hope Program to Albertans. We hope it comforts individuals and families during this stressful time.”
Text4Hope is made possible through the support of the Mental Health Foundation, the University Hospital Foundation, Calgary Health Trust, the Royal Alexandra Hospital Foundation, the Alberta Children’s Hospital Foundation and the Alberta Cancer Foundation.
“One of the biggest benefits to Text4Hope is that it offers immediate support when experiencing stress and anxiety,” says Dr. Vincent Agyapong, Clinical Section Chief for Community Mental Health in AHS Edmonton Zone, who developed the program in partnership with the AHS Addiction and Mental Health department. “The program isn’t intended to replace therapies or interventions, but is rather another added support to someone’s overall care plan.”
AHS also encourages Albertans to visit ahs.ca/helpintoughtimes for additional mental wellness resources, including a list of telephone support lines, information on community supports, as well as podcasts and videos on a variety of topics.
Albertans in crisis are urged to connect with their healthcare professional or call 911 for emergencies.