After decades of sweeping mental illness under our societal carpet, we're talking today. Bell and community supporters have started the conversation, and that's a great thing. But, it's a long road ahead, and only by working together will we make a difference.

In the second year of the five-year Let's Talk campaign, Bell is making progress. The pillars of the Let's Talk campaign are anti-stigma, care and access, mental health research, and best practices in the workplace. It is good that the Mental Health Commission of Canada has recently released a national standard for mental health in the workplace.

In the backdrop of the conversation today, on December 14, 2012, Canada saw the enactment of Bill C-300, an act respecting a Federal Framework for Suicide Prevention. Your Life Counts is honoured to have led the push for this bill. Our focus today is timely.

In unforeseen crisis, a healthy individual can be overwhelmed to the point of pondering suicide or following through with suicide. Mental illness is causative in 60% to 90% of suicides. This is a serious issue and the more we talk about it, the more we as a society will open up, and we will understand that we all have a responsibility to help save lives.

Across Canada there are families feeling disconnected and bruised, because mental illness and suicide has affected their lives. This is where stigma hurts and alienates, and we all have it within us to help these families feel accepted in our communities.

As someone who has been to the very edge of life, I know what it is like to lose all hope. The lifesaving difference for me was someone reaching out, taking me seriously, and listening.  I'm living proof that intervention works.

I encourage you to not give up and to persevere, there is always someone who will listen. There is help, there are capable people in a variety of areas in your neighbourhood.

Every person in the CTV studio, every person donating by texting today, and those of us on the chat-line, care.

If you need to reach out, as a partner organization with Bell, www.yourlifecounts.org  is here. Let's talk.

Your Life Counts Logo

Rory Butler is Founder of Your Life Counts (est. 2000) – a nationally registered charitable organization which helps youth and families to nurture, sustain and protect their will to live. Contact: rbutler@yourlifecounts.org