Bell Let's Talk supports community mental health in Atlantic Canada

2016 Community Fund grants for 9 more local mental health organizations

HALIFAX, Oct. 6, 2016 /CNW/ - In celebration of Mental Illness Awareness Week, the Bell Let's Talk Community Fund today announced a total of $135,000 in grants to help community mental health organizations in New Brunswick, Newfoundland and Labrador, Nova Scotia and PEI support people living with mental illness.

"All of us at Bell Aliant are extremely proud to support the grassroots efforts of these inspiring organizations with grants from the annual Bell Let's Talk Community Fund," said Dan McKeen, Bell Senior Vice President and Vice Chair, Atlantic. "These 9 groups are true mental health change agents, providing localized services that directly address the needs of people in our communities who are affected by mental illness."

With a focus on local projects and grassroots organizations, the $1-million annual Bell Let's Talk Community Fund provides grants for community-based mental health initiatives improving access to care. Since 2011, the Bell Let's Talk Community Fund has supported almost 350 community groups in every region of Canada, including the 72 receiving grants this year.

The organizations in Atlantic Canada receiving grants this year are Eating Disorders Nova Scotia, Newfoundland and Labrador Association of Fire Services, Partners for Care, Partners for Youth, PEI Family Violence Prevention Services, Seniors Resource Centre of Newfoundland and Labrador, Student-Athlete Mental Health Initiative, The Pottle Centre and Village des Sources l'Étoile Filante.

"On behalf of all of this year's Atlantic Canada community fund recipients, Partners for Youth thanks Bell Let's Talk for supporting the mental health programs we offer in our respective communities," said John Sharpe, CEO of Partners for Youth Inc. "These grants will help to extend our programming and increase access to care for many Atlantic Canadians across all 4 provinces."

To learn more about the Bell Let's Talk Community Fund, please visit Bell.ca/LetsTalk.

To learn more about Mental Illness Awareness Week, please visit camimh.ca.

About Bell Let's Talk
Bell Let's Talk promotes mental health based on 4 action pillars: anti-stigma, care and access, new research, and workplace best practices. Bell Let's Talk was launched in 2010 as a 5-year program with a $50 million donation from Bell, and a commitment to grow funding based on the engagement of Canadians in the cause on Bell Let's Talk Day each year.

In September 2015, the fifth anniversary of the initiative, Bell announced it would extend Bell Let's Talk a further 5 years and commit to at least $100 million in total funding for Canadian mental health.

Bell's total donation commitment to mental health has now grown to $79,919,178.55. Since 2010, Bell Let's Talk has supported more than 600 organizations from the largest healthcare and research institutions to the smallest grassroots mental health organizations in every province and territory.

About Bell
Canada's largest communications company, Bell provides consumer, business and government customers with a comprehensive and innovative suite of broadband wireless, TV, Internet and business communication services from Bell Canada and Bell Aliant. Bell Media is Canada's premier multimedia company with leading television, radio, out of home and digital media properties. Founded in Montréal in 1880, Bell is wholly owned by BCE Inc. (TSX, NYSE: BCE). To learn more, please visit BCE.ca or Bell.ca.

The Bell Let's Talk Community Fund is supporting 9 organizations in Atlantic Canada

Eating Disorders Nova Scotia – Dartmouth, NS
To battle the ongoing scourge of eating disorders, Eating Disorders Nova Scotia will use the Bell Let's Talk Community Fund grant to deliver training to peer support groups in three additional communities in the province: Bridgewater, Antigonish and Kentville. The organization's peer support groups reduce isolation, build healthy coping skills and encourage people to seek help in a safe, supportive environment.

Newfoundland and Labrador Association of Fire Services – Gander, NL
The Association will use the Bell Let's Talk Community Fund grant to train first responders to provide Critical Incident Stress Management training. The focus will be on members working on the west coast of Newfoundland from Pasadena to Port Aux Basque and up the Northern Peninsula. In this region, first responders often work in isolation from services that can help them overcome post-traumatic stress disorder and other related effects of their work.

Partners for Care – Halifax/Dartmouth, NS
The Bell Let's Talk Community Fund grant will support a new project co-ordinator to better integrate the work of the Back to Our Roots Urban Farm into the therapeutic program at the Nova Scotia Hospital. The farm uses gardening to promote physical, mental and environmental health in hospital patients as well as providing flowers and vegetables to other parts of the hospital.

Partners for Youth – Fredericton, NB
In an effort to increase awareness and reduce stigma, this organization will invest the Bell Let's Talk Community Fund grant in its Youth Leadership in Action for Mental Health program. This involves student-led teams in numerous schools who work with a program co-ordinator to design and implement an awareness campaign related to youth mental health. As well as raising awareness broadly, this initiative also provides participants with social action knowledge and leadership skills that are transferable to many other activities throughout their lives.

PEI Family Violence Prevention Services – Charlottetown, PEI
As well as enabling the updating of support materials, the Bell Let's Talk Community Fund grant will allow the creation of 2 additional support groups in outreach regions across the province as part of the organization's services which include emergency shelters, a crisis hotline and public education. The new groups will augment a roster of support for women, providing much-needed peer support and content from experts who address topics such as healthy relationships, self esteem, boundaries, communication and the law.

Seniors Resource Centre of Newfoundland and LabradorSt. John's, NL
As part of its mandate to promote the independence and well-being of older persons throughout the province, the Centre will use the Bell Let's Talk Community Fund grant to develop a 2-day workshop and follow-up webinar series for peer support volunteers. These sessions will eliminate misconceptions and stereotypes by providing accurate information on mental health issues and available support services and resources designed specifically for older people.

Student-Athlete Mental Health Initiative
The Bell Let's Talk Community Fund grant will enable this organization – which protects and promotes the mental health of post-secondary student athletes across Canada – to train almost 450 coaches and athletes in universities across Atlantic Canada in a variety of suicide prevention therapies. This is an extension of the organization's work to not only eliminate stigma through educational programming, but also to provide communities with tangible life-saving skills now.

The Pottle Centre – St. John's, NL
A drop-in social and recreational centre for adults who need mental health services, the Pottle Centre will use its Bell Let's Talk Community Fund grant to fill a critical gap in staff training, especially in areas such as addictions and concurrent disorders, violence, grief and trauma. Currently, all of the Centre's funds go to serving its clientele with a variety of free services, ranging from fitness classes and cultural and sports activities to organized games and outings such as movie trips.

Village des Sources l'Étoile Filante – Cap-Egmont, PEI
The Bell Let's Talk Community Fund grant will support half the cost for 75 adult youth workers and French-language teachers of grades 5–12 students to take an intensive 14-hour Mental Health First Aid course enabling them to better deal with young people suffering from a variety of issues, ranging from substance abuse, eating disorders, mood disorders, anxiety, depression and self harm. The Centre is a non-profit organization that offers social and personal development camps during the school year to students attending French schools across the province.

SOURCE Bell Canada



For further information: Media inquiries: Isabelle Boulet, (877) 799-6299, isabelle.boulet@bellaliant.ca

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