Donor community rallies behind Text4Support, raising over $171K through QEII Foundation’s We Are campaign

Woman holding cell phone, featuring Text4Support messages

The QEII Foundation is thrilled to announce that 540 donors have generously contributed $171,000 – completing funding for Text4Support; a text-based mental health program and research initiative that’s already having a powerful impact on patients. This exciting funding milestone includes a $100,000 gift from Canada Life and a $25,000 grant from the Mental Health Foundation of Nova Scotia.

Text4Support is an e-mental health tool through Nova Scotia Health’s Mental Health and Addictions Program. It sends automated, daily text messages to select patients currently accessing or being discharged from mental health services in Nova Scotia. It’s designed to complement and enhance the care they’re already receiving, not replace it.

Each text is crafted by mental health experts and reflects the messages and advice a recipient would typically receive from their therapist or care provider during face-to-face sessions. These supportive texts are tailored to address the patient’s specific diagnosis, including anxiety, depression, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia and more.

The first Nova Scotia patient was enrolled in Text4Support in November 2022, with hundreds of others now benefitting from these daily supportive text messages. As a research study, participating patients complete assessments about their mental health and Text4Support experience at different points during their journey – which will ultimately inform how Text4Support is incorporated into mental health services across the province.

“Through this critical research, we are investigating the effectiveness of a supportive texting service and how it can help reduce patients’ symptoms and increase overall recovery and well-being,” says Dr. Vincent Agypaong, Nova Scotia Health chief of psychiatry (Central Zone) and head of psychiatry at Dalhousie University. 

This could include decreasing stress, anxiety, depression and suicidal thoughts among patients, as well as reducing emergency department visits and hospital admissions – impacting overall wait times for mental health services.  

“Our team is incredibly grateful to all the donors who’ve invested in Text4Support – making this important tool and research a reality for patients in our province,” says Dr. Agyapong. “This is only the beginning.”

Though the research study is still underway, early data shows the tool is making a positive impact:

  • the majority of participants agreed that Text4Support text messages were on topic (82.8 per cent), to the point (81.3 per cent), supportive (78.2 per cent) and positive (79.7 per cent);
  • 46.9 per cent of participants agreed that Text4Support improved their overall mental well-being after six weeks; and
  • 40.6 per cent of participants agreed that Text4Support helps them to cope with loneliness within six weeks.

The interim results are promising to QEII Foundation president and CEO, Susan Mullin, who knows firsthand the role that donors can play in introducing and expanding e-mental health tools, like Text4Support.

“Our donor community is incredibly passionate about supporting and transforming mental health services,” says Susan. “This project is part of our $100-million We Are campaign and a prime example of how philanthropy can unlock access to innovative programs that patients and families may otherwise not have access to.”

This includes two anonymous patients who shared the following testimonials:

  • "I am receiving text messages every day. Sometimes, they help me realize that you are not alone." – Patient #1
  • "I have been exploring the resources that come with the text messages, and they are very helpful. It is nice to have reminders that you are enough and that it is okay if the most I can do some days is brush my teeth. It is really helping me solidify in my head that I am more than enough." – Patient #2

4,500 Nova Scotians will participate in the Text4Support clinical study between 2022-2025. Furthermore, according to Dr. Agyapong, in the coming months Text4Support will be offered to all patients who contact Nova Scotia Health’s Mental Health and Addictions Intake Service – providing one more potential support at their fingertips.

“The ability to offer this intervention to even more patients – above and beyond the initial study – is a direct result of donor generosity,” says Dr. Agyapong. “This is an incredible gift from the community.”

Text4Support is a partnership between Nova Scotia Health Mental Health and Addictions, the QEII Foundation, the Nova Scotia Health Innovation Hub, and Dalhousie University’s Faculty of Medicine and Department of Psychiatry.

If you or a loved one needs help now, the Provincial Mental Health and Addictions crisis line is always available at 1 888 429 8167.