A new Bell Let's Talk Day record! 138,383,995 messages of support for mental health means Bell will invest a further $6,919,199.75 in Canadian mental health

  • Canadians drive the biggest mental health conversation in the world as community and political leaders, athletes, entertainers, corporations and competitors join the cause
  • Social media leads the way as more people than ever engage in mental health on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat
  • Based on the level of engagement, Bell's donation of $6,919,199.75 brings the total Bell Let's Talk commitment to $93,423,628.80 so far

MONTRÉAL, Febr. 1, 2018 /CNW Telbec/ - What a day! Bell Let's Talk Day 2018 yesterday set all-new records as the world's biggest ever conversation about mental health. Canadians and people from all around the world joined Bell Let's Talk to help end the stigma and let those who struggle know they're not alone, while also driving Bell funding of mental health programs by getting engaged in the cause.

"On behalf of everyone on the Bell Let's Talk team, thank you Canada for showing the way in taking mental health forward – like never before! The growing engagement by Canadians in Bell Let's Talk Day shows that together we're changing attitudes and truly reducing the stigma around mental illness. It's the key to making progress in a critical national health concern," said Mary Deacon, Chair of Bell Let's Talk.

In this year's 2018 Bell Let's Talk Day campaign, people around the country got to know a diverse group of their fellow Canadians, all of whom have been affected by mental illness. From all ages and all walks of life, these new friends of Bell Let's talk are living with mental illness or providing support for someone who does. By sharing their personal stories of struggle, recovery and support they embodied the campaign's theme: mental health affects us all.

"Mental health affects us all. I think that's a message that really resonates with Canadians considering how many people joined in on Bell Let's Talk Day to show they care about this cause," said Jim Malone, who appears in this year's Bell Let's Talk awareness campaign. "My own motto of 'people helping people by sharing lived experiences' is the prime focus of the peer support group I facilitate. It's helped a lot of people, and I think we can help a lot more with the support and encouragement everyone showed on Bell Let's Talk Day. It's been an amazing experience to be part of the team and the world's biggest day ever for mental health."

From midnight in St. John's to midnight in Victoria on January 31, people in Canada and around the world sent 138,383,995 total messages of support – up over 5% over Bell Let's Talk Day 2017. Bell donates 5 cents for each of the following interactions on Bell Let's Talk Day at no extra charge to participants: all texts, mobile calls and long distance calls by Bell customers; tweets using #BellLetsTalk; use of the Bell Let's Talk Facebook frame or Snapchat filter; and views of the Bell Let's Talk video on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat. The total level of engagement means Bell will invest another $6,919,199.75 in mental health programs.

Social media engagement grew fastest again with total interactions hitting 24,302,727 – an increase of more than 10% from last year. Already Canada's most-used Twitter hashtag ever, #BellLetsTalk was the top Twitter trend in the world again this year. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau tweeted support throughout the day along with political leaders from every party, provincial and territorial premiers, mayors, councillors and community leaders. A broad range of high-profile entertainers, athletes and other celebrities in Canada, the United States and worldwide helped spread the mental health message and engage millions of fans and followers in the cause. Check out Bell.ca/LetsTalk to see examples of the incredible support of people from all walks of life on Bell Let's Talk Day.

As part of this year's campaign, 130 Canadian universities and colleges hosted more than 200 events including varsity and collegiate games to raise awareness of campus mental health – another clear sign of the growing engagement and leadership of Canadian youth in the cause.

Bell Let's Talk thanks the hundreds of Canadian corporations, governments, the Canadian Armed Forces and Royal Canadian Mounted Police, professional sports teams and associations, community and mental health partners, chambers of commerce, and schools, colleges and universities across Canada that joined the conversation through events, promotions and advertising, social media, newsletters and websites.

The 2018 Bell Let's Talk team
In addition to the new friends of Bell Let's Talk in this year's awareness campaign, a growing list of Bell Let's Talk spokespeople and ambassadors fanned out across the country yesterday, talking to media, speaking at and hosting events, visiting students and young people, and performing concerts, all of them shining a spotlight on Canadian mental health.

Our sincere thanks to spokespeople Clara Hughes, Michael Landsberg, Howie Mandel, Mary Walsh, Stefie Shock, Michel Mpambara, Serena Ryder, Marie-Soleil Dion and Étienne Boulay, who along with professional golfer Andrew Jensen, comedian and writer Kevin Breel, CFL veteran Shea Emry, musician Robb Nash, Toronto Maple Leafs Head Coach Mike Babcock, singer-songwriter Séan McCann, Afghanistan veteran and athlete Bruno Guévremont, actress Jessica Holmes, musician and author Florence K and actress Veronique Bannon shared their own stories and encouraged all Canadians to join them in talking about mental health.

Bell Let's Talk Day projects
We announced several new mental health projects to mark Bell Let's Talk Day 2018:

  • Doubling of the annual Bell Let's Talk Community Fund for grassroots mental health initiatives to $2 million a year.
  • A joint $1,000,000 donation with The Rossy Family Foundation for the creation of a national standard for post-secondary student mental health to support student success on campuses across Canada, to be led by the Mental Health Commission of Canada (MHCC).
  • $500,000 for the Institut universitaire en santé mentale de Montréal Foundation to support innovation projects at the Institut universitaire en santé mentale de Montréal Research Centre, including the development of mobile applications aimed at improving the lives of people living with mental health illness.
  • A $400,000 gift to the Montreal General Hospital Foundation to acquire a new repetitive Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (rTMS) device and a neuronavigator to help McGill University Health Centre's Mental Health Mission increase access to its Neuromodulation Unit.
  • $150,000 to Ogijiita Pimatiswin Kinamatwin to expand its mental health services for Indigenous youth in Winnipeg that encourage healing and resiliency through programs to develop life skills.

The Bell Let's Talk Community Fund
Applications are now being accepted for the 2018 Bell Let's Talk Community Fund, which supports frontline organizations improving access to mental health programs and services in every region of Canada. In addition to its major gifts to leading mental health care and research institutions nationwide and other programs, Bell has supported more than 400 local and grassroots mental health organizations in every region with the Community Fund.

The 2018 application period is open until March 31 and all 2018 Fund grants will be disbursed before December 31, 2018. To apply for funding, please visit Bell.ca/LetsTalk.

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

In 2015, Bell announced it would extend the Bell Let's Talk initiative a further 5 years and commit to at least $100 million in funding for Canadian mental health. At a total of $93,423,628.80 following Bell Let's Day 2018, we're getting there!

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


SOURCE Bell Canada

Media inquiries, Marc Choma, 613-785-0622, marc.choma@bell.ca, @Bell_News