Stefie Shock and Michel Mpambara join Clara Hughes for second annual Bell Let's Talk Day on February 8, 2012

MONTREAL, Nov. 23, 2011 /CNW Telbec/ - Bell announced today that author, composer and performer Stefie Shock and actor-comedian Michel Mpambara will be joining Olympian Clara Hughes to grow the dialogue on mental health on the second annual Bell Let's Talk Day, next February 8.

"I am touched that Stefie Shock and Michel Mpambara have agreed to join me to share their personal stories and help brighten the spotlight on mental health," said Bell Let's Talk Day national spokesperson Clara Hughes. "Last year, Canadians answered our call, and as a result Bell donated $3.3 million more to support mental health organizations in Québec and across Canada." On Bell Let's Talk Day, Bell donate 5 cents to mental health initiatives for every text message and long distance call made by Bell and Bell Aliant customers that day.

"Talking about mental illness is the first and best thing we can do to gain a better understanding of mental health," said Bell Let's Talk Day spokesperson Stefie Shock. "I am open about my anxiety disorder, and I want to get everyone to start talking openly about mental health issues. The stigma surrounding mental illness is one of the main barriers to getting treatment."

"Too few people affected by mental illness get the help they need, and far too many people take too long to recognize the problem and speak out about it," added Bell Let's Talk Day spokesperson Michel Mpambara. "In 2005, my life was turned upside down when I was diagnosed with bipolar and manic-depressive disorders. I want to help reduce the stigma around mental health and give new hope to people with mental illnesses and their loved ones."

Bell Let's Talk Day is a national event to get people talking about mental health and fight the pervasive stigma around mental illness. More than 66 million text messages and long distance calls were made by Bell and Bell Aliant customers on the inaugural Bell Let's Talk Day in February 2011.

"A growing network of partners are benefitting from and lending their own support to the Bell Let's Talk initiative, from leading mental health institutions to the many Québec community organizations that received grants from the Bell Let's Talk Community Fund, as well as our Let's Talk Day spokespersons," explained Martine Turcotte, Bell's Vice Chair, Québec. "We are pleased that Stefie Shock and Michel Mpambara are joining forces with Clara Hughes to shed light on mental health issues."

"Canada really stepped up on Bell Let's Talk Day 2011 to help break the continuing stigma around mental illness, a stigma that actually means that most who suffer from the disease won't seek the help they need," said Ms. Hughes. "Let's keep breaking down the barriers of fear and misunderstanding - join me and Canadians from sea to sea to sea in the national conversation about mental health on Bell Let's Talk Day, February 8, 2012."

The facts of mental illness and its impact underscore the need for accelerated support for mental health at all levels in Canada:

  • At least 1 in 5 Canadians experiences a form of mental illness at some point in their lives - every one of us has a family member, friend or colleague who will experience mental illness
  • Mental health funding is modest relative to other health care issues - mental illness represents 15% of Canada's health care burden but receives just 5% of health care funding
  • Just one-third of Canadians who need mental health services actually receive them
  • Mental illness is the number one cause of workplace disability in Canada - accounting for 30% of disability claims and 70% of disability costs
  • Mental illness costs the Canadian economy $51 billion each year in lost productivity - every day, 500,000 Canadians are absent from work due to a form of mental illness

The Bell Let's Talk Mental Health Initiative
Bell Let's Talk is a $50-million, multi-year charitable program that promotes mental health across Canada based on four key pillars: anti-stigma, care and access, research, and workplace best practices. It's the largest-ever corporate investment in mental health in Canada. To learn more about the Bell Mental Health Initiative and the Bell Let's Talk anti-stigma campaign, please visit Bell.ca/LetsTalk.

About Bell
Bell is Canada's largest communications company, providing consumers and business with solutions to all their communications needs: Bell Mobility wireless, high-speed Bell Internet, Bell Satellite TV and Bell Fibe TV, Bell Home Phone local and long distance, and Bell Business Markets IP-broadband and information and communications technology (ICT) services. Bell Media is Canada's premier multimedia company with leading assets in television, radio and digital media, including CTV, Canada's #1 television network, and the country's most-watched specialty channels. Bell is wholly owned by BCE Inc. (TSX, NYSE: BCE). For Bell products and services, please visit Bell.ca. For BCE corporate information, please visit BCE.ca.


SOURCE BELL CANADA

For further information:

Marie-Eve Francoeur
Bell Media Relations
marie-eve.francoeur@bell.ca
514 391-5263
@Bell_News

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