For the rest of today, using the hashtag #BellLetsTalk on Twitter means Bell donates five cents to mental health research.
In 2010, Bell announced the launch of a charitable program dedicated to promoting and supporting mental health across Canada. Let's Talk Day is part of this program, meant to raise awareness and get the public involved.
Nearly 12,000 adults and children on Prince Edward Island receive services from Health P.E.I.’s Mental Health and Addictions programs each year.
For every text message sent and every long distance call made by Bell and Bell Aliant customers, every tweet using #BellLetsTalk and every Facebook share of the Bell Let's Talk image today, Bell will donate 5 cents to programs dedicated to mental health (regular long distance and text charges apply).
The stigma around mental illness can make people feel isolated, said Karen Sheriff, president and CEO of Bell Aliant. Bell invites Canadians to join the conversation and learn more about mental illness to combat this stigma, by hosting mental health activities with the help of spokesperson Seamus O’Regan. Their goal is to help ease the isolation people with mental illnesses feel by taking daily actions, she said.
“Today is the day that every one of us can make a difference.”
In addition to the hashtag campaign, Bell plans to break the Guinness world record for most people sending the same text message at the same time. The event is being held in Halifax. They are also partnering with Kids Help Phone to hold assemblies at Gorsebrook Junior High in Halifax today and at St. Peter's Junior High in St. John's, N.L. tomorrow.
It can be difficult for people to access the services they require, said Denise Lockhart, executive director of Family Service P.E.I. People struggling to maintain their mental health are often treated poorly by their peers. Others have trouble finding a place to live, a job, or maintaining relationships, she said.
“Most people living with a mental disorder say that stigma is worse than the symptoms they feel.”
Community groups play a vital role in filling the gaps in mental health services available through Health P.E.I. Organizations like Family Service P.E.I. struggle to provide services to all Islanders who may need support.
The Bell Let's Talk initiative is a multi-year, $50-million charitable program based on four action pillars: anti-stigma, care and access, research, and workplace best practices. With Bell Let's Talk Day, the initiative is providing funding for mental health hospitals and grassroots organizations, driving new workplace initiatives across corporate Canada, and supporting new research.
Family Service P.E.I. helps Islanders develop action plans that target the most stressful issues in their lives, be they financial, personal, family or work related. As a not-for-profit organization, their goal is to provide credit and therapeutic counselling services to all Islanders regardless of their ability to pay.
For more information on Family Service P.E.I., contact Denise Lockhart at 902-892-2441, 902-436-9171 or via email: firstname.lastname@example.org