- Learn 5 simple ways to help end the stigma around mental illness
- Bell Let's Talk Day Community Fund supports Atlantic mental health organizations
- Bell Let's Talk spokesperson Mary Walsh shares her story
- To learn more about Bell Let's Talk and how to join the conversation, please visit Bell.ca/LetsTalk
HALIFAX, Jan. 28, 2015 /CNW/ - Today marks the 5th annual Bell Let's Talk Day in support of mental health programs and services across Canada. Since 2010, Bell has committed more than $67.5 million to mental health initiatives in Canada. From the national campaign to encourage Canadians to text, talk call, tweet and share on Bell Let's Talk Day, to local events across the country, Bell and Bell Aliant are working to help end the stigma associated with mental illness and advance the conversation.
"The Bell Let's Talk campaign has helped to transform how Canadians think about mental illness," said Dan McKeen, Vice Chair and Senior Vice President Residential Services, Bell Aliant. "Last year, Canadians sent more than 109 million messages to spark a national conversation about mental health. Texting, talking, tweeting and sharing today will help end the stigma and improve mental health treatment, services and support in our communities – including those in Atlantic Canada."
This year, Bell Aliant welcomes Mary Walsh, comedian and founder of the award-winning This Hour has 22 Minutes, as a spokesperson for the 2015 Bell Let's Talk Day campaign. By talking openly about her struggle with addiction and feelings of isolation she adds her voice to the conversation to reduce stigma.
Mary Walsh, TSN host Michael Landsberg and comedian Howie Mandel join Olympian Clara Hughes and Québec spokespeople Stefie Shock and Michel Mpambara in the Bell Let's Talk Day campaign.
"Everyone has dark days. But when they start to outnumber the bright ones, it's time to start talking because no one should struggle alone," said Mary Walsh. "The Bell Let's Talk campaign is about having national-level conversations that are loud enough to reach people – even on their darkest days. We need everyone to join the conversation today."
It's easy to join the conversation
Today, for every text message, wireless and long distance call made by Bell Canada and Bell Aliant customers, every tweet using #BellLetsTalk, and every Facebook share of the Bell Let's Talk Day image at Facebook.com/BellLetsTalk, Bell will donate 5 cents more to Canadian mental health programs.
In 2014, Canadians answered the call with a total of 109,451,718 messages including texts, wireless and long distance calls, tweets and Facebook shares, meaning Bell added another $5,472,585.90 to its Bell Let's Talk funding commitment. Based on its original $50 million donation and the results of the last 4 Bell Let's Talk Days, Bell has now committed more than $67.5 million to Canadian mental health.
Bell's donations are made at no extra charge to Bell Let's Talk Day participants, though normal long distance or text charges, if any, apply.
The Bell Let's Talk mental health initiative in Atlantic Canada
Bell Let's Talk promotes mental health based on 4 action pillars: anti-stigma, care and access, research, and workplace best practices. The annual Bell Let's Talk Community Fund supports community-based mental health organizations in every region of the country.
As a direct result of Bell Let's Talk funding, several Atlantic-based mental illness and awareness organizations now have increased access to care and provide more resources toward mental health programs:
- In Newfoundland and Labrador, The Eating Disorder Foundation of Newfoundland used its Bell Let's Talk Community Fund grant to produce and distribute promotional material for medical and dental offices. Additional funding was provided for the Bridge to Hope program.
- In Nova Scotia, a Bell Let's Talk Community Fund grant allowed The Boys and Girls Club of East Dartmouth to run its Friends for Life program, an internationally-recognized anxiety prevention program to train nearly 40 teachers who've applied these skills in classrooms at 10 schools and to approximately 400 students.
- In Prince Edward Island, the provincial fire service used a Bell Let's Talk Community Fund grant to deliver Critical Incident Stress training to more than 550 volunteer firefighters from 38 fire stations. The training enables firefighters to identify signs of chronic and single event stress as a result of their emergency response work.
- In New Brunswick, the Miramichi Community Suicide Prevention Committee used a Bell Let's Talk Community Fund grant to provide free and accessible "SafeTALK" training to four First Nations community members so they can play an active role to increase access to care, reduce stigma associated with suicide and assist in suicide prevention in their communities.
5 simple ways to help end the stigma
While one in five Canadians will experience mental illness at some point in their lives, the persistent stigma means two in three will struggle in silence fearing judgment and rejection. This year's Bell Let's Talk's campaign focuses on five simple things everyone can do to help end the stigma around mental illness:
- Language matters - pay attention to the words you use about mental illness
- Educate yourself - learn, know and talk more, understand the signs
- Be kind - small acts of kindness say a lot
- Listen and ask - sometimes it's best to just listen
- Talk about it - start a dialogue, break the silence
Bell Let's Talk Day events
As part of Bell Let's Talk Day, Bell Aliant is proud to sponsor a fundraising dinner in support of Alice Housing in Halifax and a Cape Breton Screaming Eagles hockey game in Sydney, Nova Scotia.
CLARA'S BIG RIDE is a powerful documentary chronicling 6-time Olympic medalist and Bell Let's Talk national spokesperson Clara Hughes' epic 110-day bicycle journey to help build a Canada free of the stigma of mental illness. CLARA'S BIG RIDE premieres in primetime tonight. It will be available all day on CraveTV and CTV.ca, before airing at 7PM AST/6:30 PM NST in super-simulcast on CTV and CTV Two and live-streamed on CTV GO.
Bell Media is marking the 5th annual Bell Let's Talk Day with more than 50 hours of special mental health-themed programming that will air across its properties, including CTV, CTV Two, BNN, CP24, CTV News Channel, Discovery, E!, M3, Much, MTV, RDS, Space, TSN, CraveTV, and TheLoop.ca, as well as Bell Media digital, radio, and local TV platforms throughout the day.
To learn more about Bell Media's special Bell Let's Talk Day programming, please visit http://bmpr.ca/15PewCc .
Bell Let's Talk Community Fund
The annual Bell Let's Talk Community Fund supports organizations in Canada focused on improving access to programs and services that support and help improve the mental health and wellbeing of people living with mental health issues from coast to coast to coast with grants in the range of $5,000 to $50,000. Applications are now being accepted for the 2015 Bell Let's Talk Community Fund. The 2015 application period is open until March 31 and all 2015 Fund grants will be disbursed before December 31, 2015.
To apply for 2015 funding, please visit Bell.ca/LetsTalk .
Bell is Canada's largest communications company, providing consumers and business customers with wireless, TV, Internet, home phone and business communications services. Bell Media is Canada's premier multimedia company with leading assets in television, radio, out of home and digital media. Bell is wholly owned by Montréal's BCE Inc. (TSX, NYSE: BCE). For more information, please visit Bell.ca
SOURCE Bell Aliant Inc.
Image with caption: "Mary Walsh, writer and comedian, Bell Let's Talk spokesperson, reminds Atlantic Canadians to call, text, share and tweet using #BellLetsTalk. (CNW Group/Bell Aliant Inc.)". Image available at: http://photos.newswire.ca/images/download/20150128_C4659_PHOTO_EN_11579.jpg
Image with caption: "Mary Walsh, writer and comedian, Bell Let's Talk spokesperson, helps Atlantic Canada kick off Bell Let's Talk Day. (CNW Group/Bell Aliant Inc.)". Image available at: http://photos.newswire.ca/images/download/20150128_C4659_PHOTO_EN_11580.jpg
Image with caption: "Mary Walsh, writer and comedian, Bell Let's Talk spokesperson, is calling her network - every call, text, tweet and share means Bell will donate 5 cents to mental health initiatives. (CNW Group/Bell Aliant Inc.)". Image available at: http://photos.newswire.ca/images/download/20150128_C4659_PHOTO_EN_11581.jpg
For further information: Media Contacts: English: Katie Burgess, Bell Aliant Corporate Affairs, Toll-free: (855) 487-6198, Email: email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org; French: Isabelle Boulet, Bell Aliant Corporate Affairs, Toll-free: 877-799-6299, Email: Isabelle.Boulet@bellaliant.ca, email@example.com