tBy Kevin J. Sabo
For the Advance
Mental illness has an effect on everyone.
It can be debilitating for the sufferer and challenging for the friends and family of the sufferer. Mental illness can devastate lives, and it can cause fractures in families.
In short, mental illness can be a beast.
Genetics and upbringing can both factor into the development of a mental illness, and a lack of understanding or compassion can compound matters. In general, people don’t know how to talk about mental illness.
Since 2010, Bell Canada has been working to start the conversation with their annual Bell Let’s Talk Day, where the company donates $0.05 for each applicable text message, phone call, video view, or social media post towards mental health initiatives in Canada. The campaign is spread across all the big social media platforms, and anyone who shares #BellLetsTalk on their social media platform can be a part of the conversation.
For the company’s 2019 campaign, they recorded 145 million interactions, raising $7.2 million with the one-day campaign.
Over the last decade, Let’s Talk has put $15.7 million towards children and youth, $1.95 million in mental health funding for Indigenous communities, and $1.78 towards military family supports, just to name some of their initiatives. These numbers don’t factor in the community and organization partnerships, or the hundreds of community grants that have been given out.
All of this funding has supported 3.4 million Canadians who struggle with mental health issues. The support has come in the form of crisis/distress lines, technology-related programs, and 1.4 million trained staff.
The Bell Let’s Talk Campaign has been a game-changer in for mental illness awareness in Canada. According to the Bell Let’s Talk website, a survey conducted by the company indicates that 86 per cent of Canadians polled feel more aware of mental health issues.
The one-day campaign is taking place Jan. 29th.