How to join the conversation and help raise funds with #BellLetsTalk
TORONTO -- Today marks the tenth annual Bell Let’s Talk Day, a national conversation around mental illness aimed at fighting stigma and raising money for the cause.
More than 1 billion interactions have been recorded since the launch in 2011, raising more than $100 million toward mental health initiatives across Canada.
This year, the company will donate 5 cents every time someone engages with the campaign on social media or whenever Bell customers send text messages or make calls.
Here’s how to make your posts count.
On Twitter, every tweet and retweet using the hashtag #BellLetsTalk and #BellCause will be counted toward the campaign. Using the correct hashtag is important to being counted toward the goal, and the official hashtag will automatically generate the special Bell Let’s Talk emoji.
As well, 5 cents will be contributed for every view of the Bell Let’s Talk Day video on Twitter. By 7:30 a.m., the video had already racked up 909,000 views.
On Instagram, Bell will make a donation for every view of this video on the official Bell Let’s Talk page.
On Facebook, users can join in by viewing the same video or by updating their profile picture with the Bell Let’s Talk 2020 frame.
Snapchat users can chip in using the Bell Let’s Talk filter, or by viewing the Bell Let’s Talk Day video.
Five cents will also be contributed for every view of the Bell Let’s Talk Day video on YouTube.
Money raised from Bell Let’s Talk supports more than 1,000 organizations across the country, including mental health initiatives for children and youth, Indigenous communities and military families.
Mary Deacon, the chair of Bell Let’s Talk, said those donations go toward organizations large and small, from coast to coast to coast.
“Every year we give grants of $5,000 to $25,000 to grassroots organizations on the frontlines of making a difference in the lives of people. Any one of those grants is not going to change the world, but it could help change a life. And if it’s your life or the life of someone you love and care about, I don’t think there’s anything more important than that,” she told CTV’s Your Morning on Wednesday.
But accessing mental health services isn’t always easy. Among youth, an estimated 1.2 million young people are affected by mental illness, according to the Mental Health Commission of Canada. But less than 20 per cent of those youth receive proper treatment.
The problem isn’t just limited to children. One in five Canadians suffer from mental health issues, and studies show that only about half of people with depression get the help they need.
“We have an excellent healthcare system in Canada. We’re the envy around the world in many cases. But people say the mental health portion of the healthcare system is fragmented. People don’t know where to go to get help, what resources are available and how long it’s going to take,” Deacon said.
Canadian actress Mary Walsh echoed those concerns. In an interview with CTV News Channel, Walsh said that Bell Let’s Talk has helped start a broad conversation about mental health, but that more access to healthcare resources is needed.
“It used to be in the dark, in the closet, we hid it. And now with Bell Let’s Talk we really are talking about it. More people are seeking help, and yet the help is not there,” she said.
Experts say the best place to start, if you think you may be struggling with mental health, is with a visit your family doctor. Resources are also available online, including support lines across the country.
EVENTS ACROSS CANADA
Among the earliest tweets of the campaign was one by Star Trek actor William Shatner early this morning.
“OK it’s after midnight in Newfoundland! #BellLetsTalk @Bell_Cause has begun!” he posted, attaching a hand clap emoji.
Hudson’s Bay Foundation has also committed to donate five cents to the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health for every tweet using both #BellLetsTalk and @HudsonsBay.
Offline, events are being held around the country encouraging Canadians to join the conversation. More than 550 on-campus events are being held at Canadian colleges and universities. Flag raising events will also take place in cities across the country.
Last year, Bell Let’s Talk Day gathered 145,442,699 interactions, raising more than $7.2 million in donations. That money surpassed the previous record set the year before.