Let's Talk About "Bell Let's Talk"

Mental health is one of those topics that currently, everybody is talking about, but at the same time no one is talking about it. On a large scale, we see dozens of companies and organizations putting out ads about mental health—there has never been a time when people talking about it more publicly than now. But the issue is that on a smaller scale people are still afraid to talk about mental health on a daily basis. We’re uncomfortable saying to our friends or our family “Hey you know what? I’m actually not doing that well.” We’re uncomfortable going to a professor or going to a mental health counsellor to say “I’m really struggling to handle my workload, I could use some support.” We should never be afraid to put ourselves first and ask for help.

For those of you that don’t know, Bell Let’s Talk is a Canadian mental health campaign initiative that was started in September of 2010 by Bell Canada and the first official #BellLetsTalk day was in January 2011. Celebrities like Clara Hughes, Howie Mandel, and Serena Ryder are huge endorsers of this campaign. When it first started, Bell Canada would donate 5 cents for every text sent by those who were with Bell, and every tweet using the hashtag #BellLetsTalk. Since 2011 the campaign has grown to include phone calls, Instagram and Facebook posts using the hashtag and this year they’ve even introduced a Snapchat filter. The number of interactions has grown every year as the campaign grows, and last year they reached 125,915,295 interactions. From the beginning of the campaign til now, Bell Canada has donated nearly $80 million to mental health programs in Canada.

I love Bell Let’s Talk day. It’s a day I actually look forward to, and is an incredibly important campaign that everyone should be supporting. It creates a platform for people to speak out on social media and I know many people who have used it as a chance to speak up and talk about the issues they’re facing. It’s a day where I’ve seen people I know personally talk about eating disorders, depression, anxiety, OCD. You realize that everybody is fighting something and you realize that mental health disorders are not always obvious; you never know when somebody is struggling.

There are many stigmas associated with mental health disorders and problems with mental health programs and treatments in Canada in general, and I realize that one day isn’t going to change that but it can influence people. Bell Let’s Talk day is giving Canadians a chance to talk to others openly and we should all be taking advantage of it. See this day as a reminder that you should never be uncomfortable asking for help, and never be uncomfortable putting yourself and your mental health first. Today, tomorrow and every other day of the year, you matter.