New “SaskWell” texting service looking to help people adjust to life post-Covid restrictions

As Saskatchewan fully reopens, a new texting service can help those people adjusting to the new normal.

The program, dubbed SaskWelll, is a text-based mental health resource aimed at tacking people’s anxieties coming out of lockdown.

Project Lead Tracie Risling says by texting, they can reach more people than conventional methods.

“Saskatchewan can have some challenges, especially now in lake season,” said Risling. “Maybe the dialup is not so good, or you might have some cell coverage issues here and there, and then there’s a whole range of accessibility issues, some folks have more data, less data. So, we wanted to choose the approach that would reach the most people, and so we chose texting.”

Risling, an associate professor at the University of Saskatchewan College of Nursing says the pandemic brought on many mental health challenges, adding just because restrictions have lifted, the anxiety around the pandemic hasn’t.

“Any big change can be a source of anxiety, so I don’t think that it’s surprising to find that during this change, while there’s lots to celebrate about moving through a different phase of the pandemic, about that reach forward to a new normal, it still can be a time that causes stress and anxiety,” said Risling.

Risling says the program will be rolled out in 10-week cycles, tailoring itself to the resources people need most at the time. She adds it’s an extremely easy service to use.

“This is such an easy tool, once you sign-up, you get a few texts a week that give you these prompts, that give you these tools to consider to really take some time to focus on yourself,” said Risling. “And I think it reminds us all that it’s ok to feel some anxiety in this ongoing pandemic situation that we’re all just trying to live through.”

Risling says the program is looking to grow its number of participants to try and help more people, as well as gather more information on to how the service can be improved moving forward.

If you are interested in signing up for SaskWell, you can text JOIN to 759355, call 1—855-237-5934, or visit their website.

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