Bell Let’s Talk Day is just around the corner on January 30th, and the Royal LePage Team will be joining in on the conversation to support mental illness and awareness in our society.
What is Bell Let’s Talk Day?
It’s an annual advocacy program run by Bell Canada with the goal of creating a stigma-free nation, in addition to raising funds for numerous mental health programs across Canada. Canadian Olympian, Clara Hughes, was the first spokesperson and nearly $90 million has been donated to fund mental health since 2010 when the campaign first started. This year Bell is ready to surpass 1 Billion total messages of support and $100 Million in total funds donated to mental health awareness.
It is estimated that 1 in 5 Canadians will experience mental illness in their lifetime and approximately 20% of the population has been diagnosed. The Bell Let’s Talk initiative encourages Canadians to rethink and learn more about the judgments associated with mental illness.
On this day, citizens are encouraged to share their stories around mental illness and promote awareness online. For each online interaction made on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Snapchat, Bell will contribute 5 cents for each online interaction using the hashtag #BellLetsTalk, in addition to every call or text made on the Bell Network. The fund will provide grants in the range of $5,000 to $25,0000 towards projects that improve mental health care and services.
Who uses their cell phones more than a busy Realtor? Our team at Royal LePage intends on doing our share of texts and shares to support this initiative.
End the stigma
It is reported that 42% of Canadians were unsure whether they would socialize with a friend who has a mental illness and 27% of Canadians said they would even be fearful of being around someone who suffers from a serious mental illness. As a result, two thirds of those suffering from mental illness are too afraid to seek the help they need.
It is important to realize that mental illness affects people of all ages and from all walks of life. It can take many forms, including depression, anxiety and schizophrenia. Most individuals find ways to live with their illnesses, however they still cannot discuss their illness transparently or without judgement
That’s why we are joining the conversation around mental health on Bell Let’s Talk Day. A concerted effort to confront the stigma has resulted in a change for the better, including better treatments, more funding for research, and a greater understanding from family, friends and colleagues. However, there is still a long way to go before we reach the level of acceptance required to create a judgement-free environment and the ability to discuss issues safely.
Ways you can help
Know the facts and myths about mental illness so you can teach others and lead by example. Try not to jump to conclusions or make assumptions without doing the proper research first. One myth relating to mental illness is the belief that people suffering with mental illness have a choice in how they are feeling. The truth is much more complex, and medication is often required.
Simple kindness can make the world of difference. Whether it’s a smile or lending a listening ear, these simple acts of kindness can help open up the conversation and let someone know you are there for them. Offer your support and what you can do to help. If you are unable to open up the lines of communication, an act of kindness can also make a difference, such as offering a coffee or a muffin.
Talk about it
Break the silence. Talk about how mental illness touches us all in some way directly or through a friend, family member or fellow student; we are all connected. There are multiple ways you can share your story, whether it’s a blog entry, an online video diary, a status on Facebook or conversation with a friend. The more we discuss mental illness in a supportive light, the more comfortable our society will feel.
Lastly, most people with mental health issues can and do recover.
So, on January 30th join in the conversation and don’t forget to use the hashtag #BellLetsTalk. Together we can end the stigma.