LOWER SACKVILLE/HALIFAX: Nova Scotia Health’s Mental Health and Addictions Program, in collaboration with Nova Scotia Health Innovation HUB and the QEII Foundation, have launched a research study on supportive text messages for mental health and addictions.

The study will be for clients aged 18 and up who are accessing or being discharged from formal mental health services. The research study is known as Text4Support. 

“Text4Support will augment mental health support for patients accessing different degrees of psychiatric care through a text messaging program,” said Dr. Vincent Agyapong, Central Zone chief of psychiatry and head of psychiatry at Dalhousie University.

“We will investigate the effectiveness of a supportive texting service offered to people as well as usual care to improve mental health outcomes and overall mental wellbeing among patients accessing mental health and addictions clinics or being discharged from psychiatric inpatient, emergency departments or acute care units in Nova Scotia.” 

People able to take part in this research would be patients accessing or being discharged from formal mental health services in Nova Scotia, including: 

● Community Mental Health and Addictions Clinics 

● Specialty Programs: Mood Disorders Program, Community Outreach Assessment Support and Treatment, Early Psychosis Program, and Operational Stress Injury Clinic

● Addiction Programs: Withdrawal Management Units, Recovery Support Centres, and Opioid Treatment and Recovery Program

● Transcultural Mental Health Program 

● Day Hospital 

● Rapid Access and Stabilization Program 

● Psychiatric Inpatient Units 

● People accessing emergency departments expressing mental health issues  

“We believe that the care we provide is directly impacted by the research we conduct,” said Dr. Gail Tomblin Murphy, Vice President of Research, Innovation and Discovery and Chief Nurse Executive at Nova Scotia Health.

“Text4Support is an incredibly innovative solution to patient care that could have a significant impact on the current path of treatment for mental health and addictions.”

Text4Support includes a bank of 180 messages per category, addressing general wellbeing, stress, mood disorders, anxiety disorders, depression, schizophrenia and other psychotic disorders, substance use disorders, adjustment disorders and personality disorders.

The QEII Foundation is currently raising funds to help support the program.   

“This is another step forward for mental health care in our province and offering immediate access to support tools that individuals may not otherwise have,” says Susan Mullin, president and CEO of the QEII Foundation.

“This need is urgent, with the pandemic only magnifying the importance of services that can reach patients at home or on the go – from one end of the province to the other. And our donors will have the special opportunity to make a tangible difference in mental health care for Nova Scotians.”  

People in formal care will be provided with this as an opportunity to augment the care and support they are currently receiving from Nova Scotia Health’s Mental Health and Addictions Program. 

For more information on Text4Support, visit: https://www.resiliencenhope.org/programs