On January 25th, Bell conducted their annual Bell Let’s Talk fundraising event to raise funds for mental health awareness and initiative programs in Canada. The event has been in existence for several years now, however the engagements with the fundraiser in 2017 trumped all past years in terms of participants and funds raised.
The following information displays the amount of social media interactions with the Bell Let’s Talk event over the past few years according to their website:
- 2011: 66,039,236 interactions
- 2012: 77,937,498 interactions
- 2013: 95,907,403 interactions
- 2014: 109,334,440 interactions
- 2015: 122,150,772 interactions
- 2016: 125,915,295 interactions
The amount of interactions recorded for the 2017 Bell Lets Talk fundraiser totaled to 597,360,644, resulting in over six million dollars in community fund grants being raised for the event.
On the day of the Bell Let’s Talk event, participants are asked to make use of the hashtag #BellLetsTalk across various social media platforms, some examples being Facebook, Snapchat, Twitter and Instagram. Each time the hashtag is used, fifty cents is donated towards mental health initiatives in Canada.
Curious as to where exactly the proceeds from the event go? The following information comes from the Bell Let’s Talk website:
- CISSS de Lanaudière: $300,000 donation to Fondation pour la Santé du Nord and Fondation Santé Sud de Lanaudière matched by the Québec government. Funding will support improved access to care for clients dealing with mental health challenges.
- Embrace Life Council: Bell Let’s Talk and Northwestel donate $250,000 for a new mental health program to be delivered by Nunavut’s Embrace Life Council, a non-profit suicide prevention organization based in Iqaluit. The safeTALK program will provide a half-day of training to Nunavummiut over the age of 15 to become suicide-alert peer helpers and connect those in their community who need support with life-saving intervention resources.
McGill University’s Montreal Neurological Institute and Hospital: A $250,000 donation to fund the development of online mental health resources focused on the needs of multicultural communities. The 3-year project will enhance the online Multicultural Mental Health Resource Centre, expanding language options and content in Arabic, Farsi, Mandarin and other languages, and adding resources for adolescents, young adults and family members of people living with a mental illness.
Queen’s University: The $1 million Bell Canada Mental Health and Anti-Stigma Research Chair was renewed with the reappointment of internationally renowned Queen’s Professor Dr. Heather Stuart.
St. John Ambulance: Bell Let’s Talk today announced a $150,000 donation to St. John Ambulance that will support the integration of mental health training in standard and emergency First Aid courses.
Strongest Families Institute: Bell Let’s Talk and all 4 Atlantic provinces today announced unprecedented support for child and youth mental health across the region with a combined gift of $2 million to the Strongest Families Institute.
I personally find the Bell Let’s Talk fundraiser to be an excellent way to generate mental health awareness and to encourage the abolishment of the stigma that surrounds mental health. Considering the amount of interactions is steadily increasing as years pass, individuals are arguably becoming more aware of the prevalence of mental health in Canada, and furthermore across the globe.
I truly believe the Bell Let’s Talk campaign is wonderful, however I do wish mental health initiatives and awareness would receive the same amount of recognition each and every day as opposed to one day out of the year. However, the campaign is certainly a step in the right direction, and it is my hope that the stigma affiliated with mental health will eventually be eradicated with the assistance of Bell’s event.