Reducing mental health stigma

The largest-ever corporate commitment to mental health in Canada, Bell Let’s Talk, is focused on four key action pillars: anti-stigma, care and access, research and workplace leadership.

Since its launch in September 2010, Bell Let’s Talk has partnered with more than 1,100 organizations providing mental health supports and services throughout Canada, including hospitals, universities, local community service providers and other care and research organizations.

On Bell Let’s Talk Day – January 28, Canadians everywhere will join in the global mental health conversation. You can use a wide range of communications platforms to join in – and directly drive Bell’s donations to Canadian mental health programs simply by participating.

On Bell Let’s Talk Day, Bell donates five cents to Canadian mental health programs for every applicable text, local or long distance call, tweet or TikTok video using #BellLetsTalk, every FacebookInstagramPinterestSnapchatTikTokTwitter and YouTube view of the Bell Let’s Talk Day video, and every use of the Bell Let’s Talk Facebook frame or Snapchat filter. All at no cost to participants beyond what they would normally pay their service provider for online or phone access.

Bell has also announced the launch of the Bell Let’s Talk Post-Secondary Fund to support Canadian colleges and universities in implementing the National Standard of Canada for Mental Health and Well-Being for Post-Secondary Students. Post-secondary institutions can now apply for a kickoff grant to cover start-up costs associated with implementing the Standard, followed by the opportunity to seek funding for specific student mental health initiatives this spring.

“Bell is building on our long-standing commitment to student mental health with the launch of the Bell Let’s Talk Post-Secondary Fund,” said Mary Deacon, Chair of Bell Let’s Talk. “Supporting post-secondary institutions seeking to implement the Standard and create new action programs, the fund is focused on accelerating the progress these schools have made in enabling the mental health of students throughout Canada.”

Bell Let’s Talk funding helped enable the creation of the Standard, led by the Mental Health Commission of Canada (MHCC) in partnership with the Canadian Standards Association (CSA). The Standard provides a set of guidelines for post-secondary student mental health that helps increase awareness, reduce stigma, improve life and resiliency skills, and create a healthier and safer educational environment overall.

Most students enrolled in Canadian post-secondary institutions are age 24 or under, the demographic most susceptible to developing mental health issues: 75 per cent of people with a mental illness were first diagnosed by the age of 24.

The Post-Secondary Fund will help universities and colleges build on their existing efforts to support student mental health by implementing the Standard’s framework. Covering initial costs associated with adopting the Standard, the kickoff grants are intended to encourage as many institutions as possible to be early adopters. The application period closes February 26.

This spring, Bell Let’s Talk will launch a second phase of the Post-Secondary Fund for institutions that have used the Standard to identify specific gaps or needs in their mental health support services and built new initiatives to address them.

Now reaching students at more than 200 universities and colleges in every province and territory, this year’s Bell Let’s Talk Campus Campaign has been enhanced with a digital toolkit to ensure post-secondary institutions can safely engage students across the country.

The toolkit is designed to keep the student mental health conversation going during the challenges of COVID-19 and contains resources like a virtual photo booth for students, faculty and staff to post selfies and share personalized mental health messages; wellness activities that encourage awareness and self-care; a digital Bell Let’s Talk flag to be shared on social media channels and websites; and short films about mental illness, hope and recovery.

To learn more, visit Bell.ca/LetsTalk.

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