By: Kathan Kapoor
Bell Let’s Talk Day 2021 is on Thursday, January 28. Everyone is encouraged to join the Canadian conversation that is driving the world in confronting the stigma around mental illness, and sharing ideas to promote mental health.
In September of 2010, Bell Let’s Talk began a new conversation. At the time, the vast majority of Canadians were not talking about mental health and the numbers spoke volumes about the immediate need for action. Millions of Canadians engaged in an open conversation about mental illness, offering novel thoughts and hope for the individuals who battle, with numbers increasing every year. In March of 2020, Bell announced the extension of the Bell Let’s Talk day initiative for a further 5 years and an increase in Bell’s total funding commitment for Canadian mental health to at least $155 million.
Students at Milton District High School can get involved in the Bell Let’s Talk initiative through social media. On January 28, Bell will donate 5 cents to Candian mental health programs for many social media interactions. They will donate 5 cents when you tweet using #BellLetsTalk, every TikTok video using #BellLetsTalk, every use of the Bell Let’s Talk Day filter on Snapchat, and every view on the official Bell Let’s Talk Day video on several platforms including YouTube, Instagram, Pinterest, TikTok and Twitter.
Virtual learning, teaching and working is challenging. Staying connected with friends, colleagues, family and community members, investing in access to care, and taking care of our own mental health are ways that we can all contribute to help create healthier schools, workplaces and communities. The small things we can do can result in a lasting impact that can change our lives for the better.
Whether you are suffering from mental illness or not, it is important that we all come together to show our support for those affected and help end the stigma around mental illness. Dr. Heather Stuart, the Bell Mental Health and Anti-Stigma Research Chair at Queen’s University developed 5 simple steps that everyone can do to help end this stigma. These steps include educating yourself, being kind, listening and asking, talking about it and using your language properly. It is important to learn, understand and talk more about the signs of mental health. Small acts of kindness speak a lot and can make a person’s day. Much of the time, listening to others’ experiences with life can do a lot for the betterment of ourselves and others as well. Finally, start a dialogue and break the silence. If you or someone you know is suffering from mental illness, breaking the silence is a small but vital step towards a positive mental health.
If you or anyone you know is suffering from mental illness, there are many resources available to help cope with and ultimately eliminate your illness. Some of these resources include the Disaster Distress hotline (1-800-985-5990), Canada Suicide Prevention Service (833-456-4566), or Reach Out Center for Kids (R.O.C.K.) (905-875-2575).
Please join us in the conversation to show support for those with mental illness and those taking action to help them on Thursday, January 28th!