January 31st is Bell Let’s Talk Day. So, what are we talking about?
In 2010, Bell began to help Canadians talk about Mental Health and the stigma surrounding it. Bell Let’s Talk focuses on 4 main areas; anti-stigma, care and access, research, and workplace health. For every tweet mentioning #BellLetsTalk, everytime the Bell Let’s Talk snapchat filter is used, or message from a Bell mobile device on January 31st is sent, 5¢ is donated towards mental illness initiatives. The total amount these programs have raised is $86 million, which goes directly to helping mental health and illness funds.
This money raised goes towards supporting communities, training individuals in mental health services, and grants to support those in need. In my community, we received funds from Bell Let’s Talk to train counselors in problem solving therapy, and to assist clients. As well, we received support to build on the resilience program to help new students at the local university. It supports upwards of 350 students. There was also a youth support system created, to assist youth ages 16-25, which also will help support the research that youth are more likely to go in for help when it is designed for youth. This was just in 2017.
Almost one fifth of all Canadians suffer from a mental illness, and for years it was never talked about. Mental Illness is still a much avoided conversation. This campaign is a necessary conversation to shed light on the issue we often leave in the dark. Chances are, if you look at any social media on January 31st, you will see at least one post about Bell Lets Talk. These posts, although seem small, get you thinking about mental illness, and the more posts you see, the larger your idea of how many people mental illness affects. This day is a day where stories can be shared and heard, where support can be shown, and show that mental illness isn’t something to avoid.
Let’s start today. On this Bell Let’s Talk Day, use the hashtag, which directly supports mental illness research and assistance. Spread the word, and use your voice to educate others today.
But, don’t let it stop there. We cannot solve mental health problems in one single day. It will take effort for many other days, one where there isn’t a widespread mental health positivity being spread across social networks. Use your voice to educate others, don’t ignore ignorance. Be open to those who need someone to talk to when they are going through a rough patch, or feeling down. Spread warmth and positivity, and support others. Think about the way you can contribute to the solutions, and apply those to your life.
Students are a critical time to learn to properly take care of their mental health and ask for help when they need it. Encourage those around to talk to somebody if they need to. There is no shame is asking for help.
Start a conversation. Use the hashtag #BellLetsTalk. Don’t ignore ignorance, but instead educate others.We need to talk about it everyday to end the stigma. Be open to all to talk to those who need it. Support others instead of knocking them down. Students especially are at a critical time to learn how to properly take care of their mental health.
We need to continue this conversation. Please, let’s talk.