To complement the oversubscribed counselling services in Alberta, the Text4Mood program which delivers daily supportive text messages to subscribers was launched on the 18th of January, 2016. This report presents an evaluation of self-reports of the impact of the program on the mental wellbeing of subscribers.
An online link to a survey questionnaire was created by an expert group and delivered via text messages to mobile phones of all 4111 active subscribers of the Text4Mood program as of April 11, 2016.
Overall, 894 subscribers answered the survey (overall response rate 21.7%). The response rate for individual questions varied and is reported alongside the results. Most respondents were female (83%, n = 668), Caucasian (83%, n = 679), and diagnosed with a psychiatric disorder (38%, n = 307), including Depression (25.4%, n = 227) and Anxiety (20%, n = 177). Overall, 52% (n = 461) signed up for Text4Mood to help elevate their mood and 24.5% (n = 219) signed up to help them worry less. Most respondents felt the text messages made them more hopeful about managing issues in their lives (81.7%, n = 588), feel in charge of managing depression and anxiety (76.7%, n = 552), and feel connected to a support system (75.2%, n = 542). The majority of respondents felt Text4Mood improved their overall mental well-being (83.1%, n = 598).
Supportive text messages are a feasible and acceptable way of delivering adjunctive psychological interventions. Given that text messages are affordable, readily available, and can be delivered to thousands of people simultaneously, they present an opportunity to help close the psychological treatment gap for mental health patients.