Here's how you can help combat mental illness

 

January 29 is Bell Let’s Talk Day—an annual campaign intended to raise awareness of and end the stigma surrounding mental illness. 

According to the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH), one in five Canadians struggles with a mental illness or addiction problem during any given year. 

Additionally, by the time Canadians reach age 40, they have or have had a mental illness. However, this doesn’t mean it’s an issue exclusive to the middle-aged. In fact, young Canadians—ages 15 to 24—are more likely to experience mental illness more than any other age group. 

Further, the disease burden—which determines the impact of a health issue base on the financial cost, mortality, morbidity, and/or other indicators—is 150 per cent higher than all cancers put together and more than 700 per cent higher than that of all infectious diseases, which includes years lived with less than full function and years lost to early death.

This year marks the 10th anniversary of the campaign, the theme of which is Mental Health: Every Action Counts; it is intended to create positive change for people living with mental illness. 

“I look forward to joining with Canadians and people around the world as we celebrate the 10th annual Bell Let’s Talk Day and talk about the actions big and small we can all take to drive positive change in mental health,” Mirko Bibic, president and CEO of Bell, said in a news release. 

“2020 promises to be another year of progress in Canadian mental health, the first in a new decade of heightened awareness of the impact of mental illness and of the opportunities to make a real and enduring difference,” he continued. 

In addition to raising awareness of mental illness, Bell also donates 5 cents to mental health programs across the country on Bell Let’s Talk Day when people tag the cause on social media. 

“Canada has come a long way over the last decade in de-stigmatizing mental illness and increasing awareness of how it affects all of us,” Mary Deacon, chair of Bell Let’s Talk, said in the same release. 

“We can build on our progress by focusing on the real-world actions we can all take to support mental health in our communities, schools and workplaces. We can learn from trailblazers and from each other about how to make a difference, as individuals or in groups, for others or for our own mental health,” she continued. 

Eight other organizations have contributed to this year’s campaign, including The Canadian Mental Health Association, Canadian Red Cross, Foundry, Jack.org, Kids Help Phone, Revivre, St. John Ambulance and Strongest Families Institute. 

“Kids Help Phone is very proud to be part of this year’s Bell Let’s Talk campaign. As one of our Founding Partners, Bell has supported our work to support young Canadians from the start,” Katherine Hay, president and CEO of Kids Help Phone, said in the release. 

“Bell Let’s Talk has further enabled Kids Help Phone to deliver critical innovations like 24/7 texting that help kids, teens and young adults access vital mental health support when they need it,” she continued. 

Last year, the campaign raised $7,272,134.95 for mental health programs, and since the first Bell Let’s Talk Day in 2010, the campaign has raised more than $100 million. 

Cover photo courtesy of Bell Let’s Talk’s Twitter

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