In case you’ve somehow missed Bell Canada’s widespread campaign with Olympian Clara Hughes front and centre, today is the third annual “Bell Let’s Talk Day.” In support of mental health, Bell will donate 5 cents for every long-distance call and every text message sent on the Bell network and for every tweet that includes the #BellLetsTalk hashtag. Furthermore, with every Facebook share of the Bell Let’s Talk image, another 5 cents will be raised. The money will help fund leading mental health hospitals and grassroots community mental health organizations across the country, drive new workplace initiatives and support new research. Last year, communications sent by over 8 million participants across the country resulted in $3,926,014.20 more funding from Bell for mental health initiatives.
The day is aimed at shedding light on the overlooked (yes, even in this day and age) issue of mental illness and its surrounding stigma that has existed for years. It is designed to increase awareness, acceptance and action for those who struggle with mental illness by encouraging a public dialogue about mental health- the first step in breaking down its stigma. It is safe to say we all know someone who suffers from some sort of mental illness, whether it is initially obvious or not. Not uncommon in young professionals, this can mean anxiety, depression or insecurity- the face of mental illness isn’t always the one typically portrayed in advertisements for anti-depressants. Mental illness affects one in five Canadians at some point in their lives. For some Canadians, the feeling of not wanting to get out of bed is very real. Half a million Canadians miss work each day due to a mental health related factor. Sometimes, it get’s too much to take. Suicide is the second leading cause of death among those 15-34 in Canada.
Thankfully, the mental health cause has started to gain momentum and Bell has attracted the support of many corporations and other organizations that have stepped up to join the conversation by providing a variety of platforms for the Bell Let’s Talk message. This means everything from including newspaper, radio, TV, online advertising, billboards, rink boards at major sports arenas and promotional events, among others. The familiar face of the major promotional and educational campaign is, as mentioned, Clara Hughes, Canada’s six-time Olympic medalist and national spokesperson for Bell Let’s Talk.
Start the conversation yourself. You can download the Let’s Talk Toolkit, which is full of hard-hitting facts, compelling information and simple tools to show your support for mental health issues and spread the word about the initiative.