“Bell Let’s Talk Day” Breaks the Silence on Mental Illness

The initiative is still helping to foster a dialogue about mental illness eight years later

(Nat Mussell)

It’s 2018, but people are still frightened to speak publicly about mental health. We see this when someone with a physical health condition is treated with empathy, while those suffering from depression, anxiety, or mood disorders are shunned and stigmatized.

For the eighth year in a row, Bell has been helping people talk about mental health and mental illnesses in Canada, and has been raising funds to support those who are struggling. Jan. 31 is Bell Let’s Talk Day, and as ordinary Canadians, we have the power to do something extraordinary on that day. According to the company’s website, “Bell will donate more towards mental health initiatives in Canada by contributing 5¢ for every applicable text, call, tweet, social media video view, and use of our Facebook frame or Snapchat filter.”

We can all be a part of that effort.

If we just take a few moments to participate in these social media activities and interactions on Jan. 31, we can help instigate change both by donating money and opening up conversations about mental health.

Five cents in donations might not seem like a significant amount of money, but revenue collected by Snapchat filters, texts, and tweets can translate into millions of dollars being put towards the cause.

One of the slogans for this year’s Bell Let’s Talk Day is “Mental health affects us all.” The Canadian Mental Health Association reports that, in any given year, one out of five Canadians will suffer with a mental health problem.

It’s easy to dismiss mental illnesses as a problem only “crazy” people combat because that stigma has been attached to the issue of mental health for decades. But it’s likely that if you examine your social circle, someone you love is experiencing a mental health issue.

Anxiety, depression, bipolar disorder, and schizophrenia do not discriminate against their victims. Genetics and environmental factors have some say in who will battle a mental illness, but the effects aren’t always easy to see. If a person is smiling, it doesn’t mean that they’re not suffering.

With its campaign, Bell may have ulterior motives. In addition to raising mental health awareness, they’re also funding these initiatives for marketing and advertising purposes. Perhaps this is true, but the work they’ve done over the past eight years for Canadians coast-to-coast is remarkable.

According to its website, “Bell’s total donation to mental health programs now stands at $86,504,429.05”

“We are well on our way to donating at least $100 million through 2020,” it reads.

You might not have a choice in whether you’re diagnosed with a mental illness, but you do often have a choice in how you wish to respond to it. Therefore, talking about it with those around you and supporting Bell Let’s Talk Day is important.

We all have a choice in how we choose to support people with mental illnesses. We must exhibit empathy and show people who come forward with their health issues that admitting you need help is not a sign of weakness.

This is a fight no one can endure alone. So Canada, on Jan. 31, let’s talk.

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