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It's Bell Let's Talk Day! Join the conversation to help end the stigma around mental illness

  • Bell Let's Talk ambassadors Clara Hughes, Michel Mpambara, Seamus O'Regan and Stefie Shock lead the discussion about mental health
  • Take part and Bell will donate - for every text and long distance call made by Bell and Bell Aliant customers, every tweet using #Bell LetsTalk, and every Facebook share of the Bell Let's Talk image, Bell donates 5 cents more to mental health programs
  • Learn how you can join the campaign by visiting Bell.ca/LetsTalk

MONTREAL, Feb. 12, 2013 /CNW Telbec/ - Today is Bell Let's Talk Day, the annual event when Canadians from coast to coast to coast join Clara Hughes and the Bell Let's Talk team in a national conversation about mental health to help end the stigma around mental illness.

"It's time to talk Canada! Join me in the discussion about mental illness and we'll make a real difference in the lives of friends, colleagues, family members and all the other Canadians who struggle with the disease," said Clara Hughes, Canada's six-time Olympic medalist and national ambassador for Bell Let's Talk. "Fighting the stigma is the first and most important step in moving mental health forward. By talking openly, we're letting those who suffer know there is support and understanding, and that our focus is helping them get better."

Two out of 3 people affected by mental health issues still suffer in silence for fear of being judged or rejected because of the continuing stigma.

Bell Let's Talk Day is the culmination of a national promotional campaign that started January 14, featuring Clara along with author, composer and performer Stefie Shock, actor-comedian Michel Mpambara and, new to the team this year, CTV personality Seamus O'Regan. In addition to the multimedia ad campaign, all 4 Bell Let's Talk ambassadors are engaging directly with Canadians at events across the country, to get people talking about mental health. Working with Kids Help Phone for example, Bell Let's Talk is visiting schools in Montréal, Calgary, Vancouver, Toronto, Halifax and St. John's to get young people engaged in the mental health discussion.

Here's how you can join the conversation!
Bell Let's Talk Day invites all Canadians to help end the stigma around mental illness by talking openly about mental health issues. And Canadians have responded.

Bell this year launched an online conversation toolkit on Bell.ca/LetsTalk. Thousands of people and organizations have downloaded the toolkit or ordered it directly from Bell. As a result, today more Canadians than ever will be learning about mental health and helping to end the stigma at thousands of events at universities and colleges, hockey arenas, military bases, community centres, social service agencies, and boardrooms.

"We have been overwhelmed by the response to Bell Let's Talk Day this year," said Mary Deacon, Chair of the Bell Let's Talk mental health initiative. "To see so many conversations about mental health happening shows the progress we're all making in ending the stigma and ensuring Canadians suffering from mental illness aren't afraid to get the treatment they need."

Bell Let's Talk Day also accelerates Bell's funding for new mental health initiatives. For every text message and long distance call made by Bell and Bell Aliant customers today (regular long distance charges and text charges apply), every Facebook share of the Bell Let's Talk Day image and every tweet using #BellLetsTalk, Bell will donate another 5 cents to programs dedicated to mental health.

Throughout the day, various Bell Media properties will feature regular updates on-screen of text, Twitter and long distance call activity, representing both the spreading conversation, and the additional funds to be dedicated to mental health by Bell. Last year, Canadians responded with 78,520,284 texts, long-distance calls and retweets - a 19% increase over the first Bell Let's Talk Day in 2011 - resulting in an additional Bell donation of $3,926,014.20 to Canadian mental health.

Bell Let's Talk partners
Mental illness costs the Canadian economy an estimated $50 billion in lost productivity annually. It is the reason approximately 500,000 Canadians are away from work today.

This year, Bell was pleased to support the launch of a new national standard for psychological health and safety in the workplace: Psychological Health and safety in the Workplace - Prevention, promotion and guidance to staged implementation. The first of its kind in the world, the voluntary Standard offers guidance to Canadian businesses and organizations for addressing mental health and mental illness in the workplace and Bell is proud to be among the first to commit to it. As part of that commitment, today Bell team members will learn more about mental health from leading experts speaking at events and leading webchats at Bell locations across Canada.

Reflecting the impact mental illness has on all of us, many Canadian media, sports and communications companies also stepped up to support and promote Bell Let's Talk this year, including a number of Bell competitors. Also this year, all 7 Canadian NHL teams have dedicated February to their own mental health initiative, Hockey Talks. Bell is pleased to be a partner of the Montréal Canadiens, Toronto Maple Leafs and Ottawa Senators for their mental health game nights.

The combined efforts of hundreds of Canadian businesses, government agencies and community organizations are multiplying the positive impact of the Bell Let's Talk campaign at an ever-increasing rate.

Bell Let's Talk in action
During the lead up to this year's Bell Let's Talk Day, Bell announced 3 new mental health partnerships. In Québec, Bell contributed $500,000 to La Fondation du Centre hospitalier universitaire de Québec (CHUQ) to upgrade its acute psychiatric care unit, and another $500,000 to Concordia University's Department of Psychology to subsidize therapy and assessment at the university's Applied Psychology Centre and Centre for Clinical Research in Health. On February 8 in Vancouver, Bell announced a $500,000 gift to Brain Canada to help fund the $1 milllion Bell Mental Health Research Training Awards supporting talented young Canadian mental health researchers.

These new gifts are in addition to previously announced contributions to the Royal Ottawa Hospital, the Douglas Mental Health University Institute, Hôpital Louis-H Lafontaine, the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH), Queen's University, the University of British Columbia and other leading institutions and organizations.

In January, Bell announced the 2013 Bell Let's Talk Community Fund, the annual $1-million annual fund that supports grassroots mental health organizations throughout Canada. In 2012, Bell Let's Talk supported 60 mental health organizations in communities across the country with grants ranging from $5,000 to $50,000.

About Bell Let's Talk
The Bell Let's Talk mental health initiative is a 5-year, $50-million charitable program based on 4 action pillars: Anti-stigma, care and access, research, and workplace best practices. To learn more about Bell Let's Talk, 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 broadband network, ICT and data hosting services. Bell Media is Canada's premier multimedia company with leading assets in television, radio and digital media. 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 media inquiries, please contact: 

Jacqueline Michelis
Bell Media Relations
1 855-785-1427
jacqueline.michelis@bell.ca
@Bell_News

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