For the ninth annual Bell Let’s Talk Day, the Canadian Armed Forces will once again host a panel discussion regarding mental health on Wed. Jan. 30.
Panelists will discuss mental health and how to reduce stigma on the topic, in the context of the Canadian military.
Moderated by CTV’s Paul Hollingsworth and LCdr. Sylvie Robinson host the panelists for this year’s discussion, which include: Bell Let’s Talk Ambassador Bruno Guévremont, DND Co-Champion for Mental Health Jerry Ryan, Commodore Chris Sutherland, Lieutenant-Colonel David Coker, Corporal Travis Weir, Petty Officer 2nd Class Chevonne Fisher, and Ms. Chimene Jewer.
Although the campaign is designed for everyone across the country, Bell Let’s Talk Day has become an important initiative in the CAF. Today, DND Minister Harjit Sajjan and Veterans Affairs Canada Minister Wilson-Raybould released the following statement to recognize the campaign:
“Our Canadian Armed Forces members and Veterans have always put the safety and wellbeing of others before themselves. From Bosnia to Afghanistan, Haiti to Mali, they have always shown they could be relied on even in the most trying of circumstances.
“For some, the stigma associated with mental illness is one of the biggest barriers to seeking help. We are continuing to work hard to break down this barrier, by encouraging open and honest discussions around mental illness, including partnering with Bell on Bell Let’s Talk Day. We are always looking at ways to continue to strengthen mental health services and support for the military community, including serving Canadian Armed Forces members, Veterans, and their families.”
The statement goes on to acknowledge the difference reaching out to individuals can make:
“Sometimes, it’s hard to see when help is needed. Talking to someone can help. For someone who is suffering, just listening can make a difference. If you or someone you know needs help, please ask for it. No one should suffer in silence. We are here to listen. We are here to help. Join the conversation and help end the stigma surrounding mental illness.”
Now almost a decade in, the Bell Let’s Talk Day encourages Canadians to get on social media and discuss the topic of mental health. For every text message, mobile and long distance call made by customers of Bell Canada, Bell Aliant, and Bell MTS, every tweet using the hashtag #BellLetsTalk, every view of the Bell Let’s Talk Day video on social media, and use of the Bell Let’s Talk Facebook frame or Snapchat filter, Bell will donate five cents to support Canadian mental health programs.
But the day is much more than just a social media campaign. The initiative offers resources and information about mental health and focuses on providing this support based on four key pillars: fighting the stigma, improving access to care, supporting world-class research and workplace mental health.
Through the money raised from this annual campaign, Bell has been able to donate more than $93 million to mental health programs. More than six million people have been supported including 8,410 military families through the Bell True Patriot Fund.
The campaign has also made an impact on changing perceptions on mental health nationwide. According to the statistics, 87 per cent of Canadians reported being more aware of mental health.
The CAF mental health panel discussion will begin at 2 p.m. AST. Individuals can join in via the CAF’s Facebook. (https://www.facebook.com/CanadianForces/)
To learn more about Bell Let’s Talk visit the website.