One of the biggest obstacles we all face in our mental health struggles is feeling alone and stigmatized. When so many of our problems seem trivial or unique, it can be hard to even bring them up to others, let alone to discuss them in detail.
But talking about them and shining a light on how we are all connected is what Bell Let’s Talk Day is all about.
What is Bell Let’s Talk Day?
Though many people only know the single day and the promotion around it, Bell Let’s Talk Day is actually just one part of a much larger push of donations and programs meant to destigmatize discussions around mental health in Canada. It is based on four key pillars – Anti-stigma, Care and Access, Research, and Workplace Leadership.
The day was started as part of a five-year campaign by the telecom company Bell Communications, who recognized the power of social media and digital communications to be a force for good – and one they could use to raise awareness of mental health issues across the country. It has since been renewed twice and will occur at least through 2025.
What is the purpose of Bell Let’s Talk Day?
Using hashtags like #BellLetsTalk and #BellCause in Quebec, on this day the company donates money for every online interaction, such as comments, shares, and text messages. It consistently becomes one of the most widely-discussed campaigns in the world when it occurs – in 2015, it was the #1 trending topic on Twitter.
This means that there are plenty of people interested in talking about mental health, and unafraid to tell their story. Thanks to initiatives like this, those people can now connect to one another – and thanks to further donations and outreach, mental health causes around Canada get more of the support they need.
When was the first Bell Let’s Talk Day?
The first Bell Let’s Talk Day occurred in January 2011, marking the beginning of a now decade-long tradition of having the day at the end of that month each year. While it’s the most famous event of the campaign, there are many others throughout the other months that make just as much of a difference, where money is donated to organizations and programs that are working to make the world a better place to talk about mental health.
Is Bell Let’s Talk Day just in Canada?
Officially, the donations and interactions considered by Bell only occur in Canada, but that doesn’t stop the rest of the world from participating in their own ways. Canadians abroad share the hashtag and the message, spreading the word to their friends and family in other countries – and the common goal we all have easily crosses borders. The movement has gained ground in the United States and even in some areas of Europe. Familiar faces like Prince Harry and Joe Jonas, and even organizations like the official NHL Twitter account, have posted about the day and what it means to be a supporter.
What does Bell Let’s Talk raise money for?
The campaign raises money for mental health – and especially for programs that destigmatize conversations and help people with difficult conditions. For example, many universities receive funding for additional research, hospitals receive new equipment and training, non-profits like Kids Help Phone get new funding, and regional mental health programs get assistance and financial support. Let’s Talk Day provides whatever may be needed to help Canadians thrive mentally, in communities large and small, from Pacific to Arctic to Atlantic. This is especially important now, in the midst of an ongoing pandemic.
How much did Bell Let’s Talk raise in 2021?
Sitting at 1.327 billion interactions as of the first day of 2022, in its first decade the campaign has contributed more than $121 million to mental health initiatives – with just under $10 million of that in 2021 alone. They keep a total tally and a breakdown of funding destinations at the link above, so if you’re curious about how the money is spent, that’s a great resource to follow.
Bell Let’s Talk Day and Your Counselling
Just because the day is popular doesn’t mean it’s the only time we should focus on our mental health – in fact, the whole message of the campaign is that we should be more open, every day. So, whether it’s the end of January, the middle of July, or anywhere between, you don’t have to feel stressed or scared about discussing your mental health. Just like Bell, we’re on a mission to make sure the stigma disappears, and to support you on your journey. When you’re ready, reach out for a no-obligation, 15-minute phone call – and let’s talk about how we can help you.