Why I Don't Endorse Bell Let's Talk Day...

While the Bell Let’s Talk day project has donated $86.5 million dollars to “mental health initiatives” to date, is the one-day event actually helping those with mental illness or has it become more of a marketing tactic and #trend?

If you don’t know when Bell Let’s Talk day occurs prior to it happening, you certainly DO know while it does. This year, on January 31st, 2018, your timelines, text messages and Twitter feeds will once again be filled by people hashtagging #BellLetsTalk alongside a spew of supportive and encouraging words for those with mental illness. Many will claim that they are “always there” for anyone in need, and some will post their own stories about battling mental illness. Regardless of what is said, Bell receives an outpour of media attention as people worldwide participate in raising funds. Now, while I do appreciate the positivity this project portrays, each year I feel increasingly angered by the immediate disappearance of support once the day is over.

Despite believing that people can change, seeing those who have bullied or belittled myself and others suddenly act as though they are mental health crusaders 365 days of the year is an annoyance I cannot shake. Although Bell Let’s Talk day was created in order to stop the stigmatization of mental health, it’s clear that there are still many people who think of mental illness as shameful. While Bell reports that 4/5 Canadians are more aware of mental health issues since they started the project in 2011, for the 1/5 Canadians who actually suffer from a mental health problem or illness each year, our struggle is far greater than just one day.

Without Bell’s support, there would be no day dedicated specifically to raising funds for mental health initiatives. While I understand the need for a large company to advertise the event, I wish there didn’t have to be an advertisement at all. I wish that talking about mental health and donating to important charities didn’t need a hashtag to persuade people to do it—that people openly supported one another year round. My wish is that on February 1st, 2018, people will keep talking, supporting and caring for the mental well-being of those around them.

We can all agree that Bell Let’s Talk day has made a substantial contribution financially to improve the mental health of Canadians; however, one day is simply not enough.

If you take Bell out of the hashtag, you get the two words you should be saying to anyone around you who needs your support: let’s talk. This year, #LetsKeepTalking and let’s not stop until the need for a day to be dedicated to it has vanished.


If you or someone you know is experiencing a mental health problem or illness, please seek help through a mental health crisis centre. A list of international crisis centre numbers can be found here.

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