TORONTO — As the pandemic puts unprecedented stress on Canadians’ mental health, Bell Let’s Talk Day aims to dismantle stigma and raise money for the cause.
Now in its 11th year, Bell Let’s Talk Day is the world’s largest conversation about mental health. More than 1.1 billion interactions have been recorded since the event launched in 2011, raising more than $113 million toward mental health initiatives across Canada.
This year, more Canadians than ever are reporting anxiety and depression as the second wave of COVID-19 upends normal life. According to a recent survey by Mental Health Research Canada, 22 per cent of surveyed Canadians reported that they had been diagnosed with depression, with another 20 per cent saying they had received an anxiety disorder diagnosis, representing an all-time high.
In these challenging times, Bell Let’s Talk Day is aiming to use the power of virtual connections to enhance mental health, says Mary Deacon, Chair of Bell Let’s Talk.
“The stress and uncertainty of COVID-19 has impacted all of us, and the need for a heightened focus on the mental health of Canadians is clear,” Deacon said in a statement.
On Thursday, Bell will donate five cents to Canadian mental health programs for every applicable text, local or long distance call, tweet or TikTok video using #BellLetsTalk.
A special Bell Let’s Talk Facebook frame and Snapchat filter will be launched, and five cents will be donated every time someone uses the frame.
Participation is free, aside from normal fees incurred by online or phone access.
Canadian music legend Alanis Morissette will sit down with Etalk’s Traci Melchor for an exclusive interview at 7 p.m. on CTV to discuss efforts to normalize the mental health conversation. As well, CTV will air “In This Together: A Bell Let’s Talk Day Special” to highlight Canadians and their mental health journeys during the pandemic. The special will premiere at 7 p.m. ET/PT on CTV, CTV2 and Crave.
Organizations across Canada are hosting their own virtual Bell Let’s Talk Day events to address the unique ways that different communities respond to mental health challenges. Among the events are a virtual gallery showcasing the embroidery work of refugee women that explores the relationship between art and mental health, a webinar about mental health and the Olympics, and a panel discussion about the impact of COVID-19 and other challenges on the mental health of Black people.
Since its launch in September 2010, Bell Let’s Talk has partnered with more than 1,100 organizations providing mental health supports and services throughout Canada, including hospitals, universities, local community service providers and other care and research organizations.