Bell Aliant applauds Government of New Brunswick on release of its Mental Health Action Plan

SAINT JOHN, NB, May 5 /CNW/ - Bell Aliant applauds the Government of New Brunswick's release of its Action Plan for Mental Health and congratulates the Province on its commitment to mental health issues and putting patients at the centre of treatment.

Bell Aliant shares the Government's vision that the promotion of mental health requires a community response, a combined effort by government, community organizations and business. We recognize the issues are complex and we need to work together to ensure the challenges, such as stigma, no longer conceal the fact that one in five New Brunswick residents, will experience a mental illness at some point in their lives. At Bell Aliant, we look forward to working with Government and other stakeholders to do our part.

On Tuesday, the Government of New Brunswick released its Action Plan for Mental Health in New Brunswick 2011-18. The strategy is designed to make mental health as important as physical health and to ensure the mental health system is responsive to individual and community needs and recognizes the importance of continued input of persons experiencing mental illness and their loved ones.

Mental illness is a pervasive health care issue in Canada and represents 15% of Canada's health care burden. Every one of us has a family member, friend or colleague who will be affected. To support this need in the areas we serve, Bell Aliant will invest $500,000 this year in community initiatives that enhance awareness, understanding and treatment of mental illness in our local communities. In addition, Bell Aliant works with national partner Bell Canada to deliver on its five year, $50-million commitment to Mental Health including Bell Let's Talk Day, which encourages Canadians to have conversations about mental health. This past February 9th the inaugural Let's Talk Day resulted in Bell committing an additional $3.3 million - 5 cents for each of more than 66 million texts and long distance calls made by Bell and Bell Aliant customers - for mental health programs across the country.

To learn more about Bell Aliant's community programs and the Bell Mental Health initiative, please visit bellaliant.ca/community and bell.ca/letstalk.

About Bell Aliant

Bell Aliant is one of North America's largest regional communications providers and the first company in Canada to cover an entire city with fibre-to-the-home (FTTH) technology with its FibreOP(TM) services. Through its operating entities it serves customers in six Canadian provinces with innovative information, communication and technology services including voice, data, Internet, video and value-added business solutions. Bell Aliant's employees deliver the highest quality of customer service, choice and convenience.

SOURCE BELL ALIANT INC.

For further information: Mark Duggan, Bell Aliant Corporate Affairs, (866) 663-6064, (709) 687-3136, mark.duggan@bellaliant.ca

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