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EASTERN HEALTH LAUNCHES NEW MENTAL HEALTH MOBILE APP FOR YOUTH

NEWS FACTS:
• Eastern Health has launched its first health-related mobile app, called Bridge the gAPP. The app aims to support and promote mental wellness amongst youth in Newfoundland and Labrador.
• Bridge the gAPP is built on the philosophy of acceptance of the adolescent experience and its impact on mental wellness. The free mobile app (available in Google Play and the iTunes Store) will cover a variety of topics that are important to youth who are experiencing mental health issues. Information about the app is also available at www.bridgethegAPP.ca.
• The development of Bridge the gAPP was made possible through a $50,000 grant from the Canada Post Community Foundation, as well as funding from the Janeway Children’s Hospital Foundation.
• The app is an initiative of Eastern Health’s Bridges program, a community-based mental health service that provides therapy and support to youth between the ages of 13 to 18. The idea for the app was inspired by the program’s waiting room, which is filled with art work created by patients, including drawings, poems, quotes and songs.
• Through an interactive component, Bridge the gAPP gives youth the opportunity to encourage their peers to ask for help. The app also provides youth access to a number of mental health resources, including websites, relaxation strategies, self-submitted art work and helpful phone lines and supports.

QUOTES:

Attributable to Steve Kent, Deputy Premier and Minister of Health and Community Services:
“Since the inception of the Bridges program 13 years ago, thousands of youth have come through the door seeking mental health support and leaving behind messages to other youth through their artwork. This innovative app is another vital tool in our work to support youth with mental illness, which will foster the understanding that it’s ok to ask for help.”

Attributable to David Diamond, President and CEO, Eastern Health:
“Bridge the gAPP is a great example of how we can use digital media to improve access to care and services. This app directly targets youth who may need help, but are unsure where to turn. Our hope is that by placing the appropriate support at their own fingertips, it will be easier for youth to take that first important step, as research has shown that early intervention leads to better mental health outcomes.”

Attributable to Lynn Sparkes, Executive Director of the Janeway Children’s Hospital Foundation:
“The Janeway Children’s Hospital Foundation is extremely pleased to see this project come to life. Providing partial funding to ensure the app reaches the adolescent population in our province was important to us. By investing in pediatric mental health, we are building a brighter, more productive future for these children and their families.”

Attributable to Gerry Oliver, Area Manager, Canada Post:
“Reaching a child in need at the right time can change a life, if not save it. This app will be a connection for thousands of youth who may not otherwise take that important first step looking for help. It is a critical tool that promotes mental wellness and will help youth in Newfoundland and Labrador and we are thrilled that through our Foundation, we are able to make a contribution to its success.”

Promotional video (30 sec):

ABOUT EASTERN HEALTH:
Eastern Health is the largest, integrated health authority in Newfoundland and Labrador employing approximately 13,000 dedicated employees and serving a population of more than 300,000 people. The authority has an annual budget of approximately $1.3 billion and offers the full continuum of health and community services including public health, long-term care, community services, hospital care and unique provincial programs and services. Its geographic boundaries extend from St. John’s west to Port Blandford including all communities on the Avalon, Burin and Bonavista Peninsulas.