On February 8 millions of Canadians from coast to coast to coast joined national spokesperson Clara Hughes on Bell Let’s Talk Day in an unprecedented national conversation to end the stigma of mental illness.
Canadians responded with 78,520,284 texts, long-distance calls and retweets – a 19% increase over the first Bell Let’s Talk Day in 2011. With Bell donating 5 cents for each text, long-distance call and retweet, Bell Let’s Talk Day 2012 results in a Bell donation of $3,926,014.20 to Canadian mental health programs.
“Thank you Canada! By talking so openly about mental illness and its impact, you’re letting family, friends, neighbours and colleagues who struggle with mental illness know they can talk about it and seek the help they may need,” said Ms. Hughes, Canada’s six-time Olympic medalist. “I’ve heard encouraging stories of hope and opportunity from so many people throughout the Bell Let’s Talk Day campaign. Together, we’ve taken the conversation about mental health to a new level – it’s a conversation that’s not just changing lives, it’s saving lives.”
Bell Let’s Talk Day invites all Canadians to help end the stigma around mental illness by talking openly about mental health issues. The reason that most people who suffer from mental illness do not seek help, stigma is the greatest challenge to moving Canadian mental health forward.
“Canadians talked about mental health like never before on Bell Let’s Talk Day – your more than 78 million calls, texts and tweets mean Bell Let’s Talk will donate $3,926,014.20 more to mental health in Canada,” said George Cope, President and CEO of Bell and BCE. “On behalf of Clara and the national Bell team, our sincere thanks to all of you and to all our partners for your unprecedented support in the fight against the stigma of mental illness.”
Bell Let’s Talk Day 2012 was supported by a major national promotion and education campaign, with generous assistance from a range of Canadian media, sports and communications companies including Astral Media, Bell Media / CTV, CBC / SRC, Canadian Olympic Committee, Globe and Mail, Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment, Montréal Canadiens, National Hockey League, National Post / Postmedia Network, Ottawa Senators, Rogers Communications, and Vancouver Whitecaps FC.
“Recent research by Harris/Decima survey shows that 60 per cent of Canadians have been seeing, hearing and talking more about mental health issues. More than 70 per cent believe this is already having a positive impact on how mental health is perceived, while helping to decrease misconceptions associated with mental health,” said Mary Deacon, Chair of the Bell Let’s Talk mental health initiative. “Bell Let’s Talk and the many other wonderful efforts across the country to grow the conversation about mental health are clearly having a positive effect!”
Since the launch of the 2012 Bell Let’s Talk Day campaign on January16, the momentum built with tens of thousands of Canadians joining the conversation by visiting Bell.ca/LetsTalk or facebook.com/BellCanada, uploading their smiles next to Clara’s, and following and retweeting the campaign on Twitter @Bell_LetsTalk.
During the lead up to this year’s Bell Let’s Talk Day, Bell announced two new mental health partnerships. On February 1, Bell made a $2 million gift to the Douglas Mental Health University Institute in Montréal to establish the Douglas-Bell Canada Brain Bank. And on the eve of Bell Let’s Talk Day in Kingston, the company announced a $1 million donation to Queen’s University to establish the Bell Mental Health and Anti-stigma Research Chair, the first Chair of its kind in the world.
The Douglas and Queen’s join the University of British Columbia, the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH), the Royal Ottawa Hospital, Hôpital Louis-H. Lafontaine, and other mental health organizations nationwide in the Bell Let’s Talk initiative. In January, Bell also announced the Bell Let’s Talk Community Fund for 2012, a $1-million annual fund that supports grassroots mental health organizations in every region in Canada.
About Bell Let’s Talk
The Bell Let’s Talk mental health initiative is a five-year, $50-million charitable program based on four action pillars: Anti-stigma, care and access, research, and workplace best practices. To learn more about Bell Let’s Talk, please visit Bell.ca/LetsTalk.
Bell is honoured to be named the recipient of the 2012 Freeman Philanthropic Services Award for Outstanding Corporation for the Bell Let’s Talk mental health initiative. The prestigious international award by the Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP) will be presented in March in Vancouver.
Bell is Canada’s largest communications company, providing consumers and business with solutions to all their communications needs: Bell Mobility wireless, high-speed Bell Internet, Bell Satellite TV and Bell Fibe TV, Bell Home Phone local and long distance, and Bell Business Markets IP-broadband and information and communications technology (ICT) services. Bell Media is Canada’s premier multimedia company with leading assets in television, radio and digital media, including CTV, Canada’s #1 television network, and the country’s most-watched specialty channels. Bell is wholly owned by BCE Inc. (TSX, NYSE: BCE). For Bell products and services, please visit Bell.ca. For BCE corporate information, please visit BCE.ca.