According to the Canadian Mental Health Commission, one in five has difficulties with their mental health. If we were to involve families or caregivers, people’s experiences with mental health would “affect almost everyone in some way.” This is a concept highlighted in Bell Let’s Talk’s 2019 campaign. Everyone is personally or indirectly affected by mental health.
George A. Cope, President and CEO of BCE Inc. and Bell Canada, said, “Bell Let’s Talk has started a new conversation about Canada’s mental health [at a time when] Most people didn’t talk about mental illness. “
Bell Let’s Talk Day has encouraged people to participate in mental health talks since it was founded in 2011. By mainstreaming mental health into the mainstream, the program continues to promote greater awareness of the mental health stigma and help many to be more open about their experiences.
Participation includes text; Mobile or long distance calls in the Bell network; Twitter posts with #BellLetsTalk; Check out the Bell Let’s Talk Day video on Instagram. Using the Bell Let’s Talk Frame on Facebook; or use the Bell Let’s Talk filter for Snapchat, which results in a five cents donation from Bell to Canadian mental health initiatives.
Bell suggested a few ways to help and reduce stigma: be sensitive to the language you use, learn about a variety of mental health topics, and initiate dialogue with friends and colleagues.
Statistics from a September 2015 telephone poll of 1007 randomly selected Canadians revealed a shift in national attitudes towards mental health and stigma: 57% believe that mental health stigma has decreased compared to four years ago, while 70% believe that ” Mental health attitudes … have changed for the better “compared to five years ago. And 81% say they are “more aware of mental health now”.
In a study published in JMIR Mental Health, the authors found an increase in the rate of outpatient mental health services for adolescents. That said, young people seem more inclined to seek mental health support. Child psychologist Phil Ritchie of Children’s Hospital in Eastern Ontario explains: “When people discuss mental health regularly, more pressure can be put on the system to care for those in need. But we would much rather have that as a problem. “
While Bell may have chosen “the right topic at the right time” there is still a need for further changes and a system that not only detects, prevents and protects mental health, but also takes action.
Benjamin Leikin, Mental Health Project Leader for Ottawa Public Health, says, “There is a risk that this alone will be enough. This is definitely a good place to start, and it is a good head start for us as a community, as a country. “
-Amanda Costabile, author
Feature: Michael Summers at Flickr, Creative Commons, some rights reserved
First: Michael Summers at Flickr, Creative Commons, some rights reserved
Second: Maritè Toledo on Flickr, Creative Commons, some rights reserved