MONTRÉAL, January 9, 2019 – In the lead up to Bell Let's Talk Day on January 30, university and college students in every province and territory are promoting campus mental health programs with guest speakers, conferences, information kiosks, and varsity and collegiate athletic events. More than 340 events at 205 schools will invite students to be part of the world's biggest mental health conversation while learning more about resources available to them on campus.
Now reaching a national post-secondary student population of 1.6 million, the Bell Let's Talk campus campaign has been encouraging student-led mental health conversations since it began in 2016 as a student-athlete initiative at 11 Atlantic Canada universities. The program grew to 100 varsity games at 53 universities in 2017, and last year expanded into the broader campus community with a broad range of events at 128 universities and colleges."With more than 200 universities and colleges part of the campaign this year, it's clear that postsecondary students in Canada have taken a real leadership role in the mental health conversation," said Mary Deacon, Chair of Bell Let's Talk. "These hundreds of student-led initiatives are growing awareness of both the impact of mental illness and the resources students can turn to for support, helping to ensure a psychologically healthy and safe environment on campus."
"We are pleased that the Bell Let's Talk campaign continues to expand to more universities and colleges across Canada," said Jennifer Hamilton, Executive Director of the Canadian Association of College and University Student Services (CACUSS). "The membership of CACUSS is committed to working with organizations like Bell to end stigma and promote wellness education efforts on campus.""Our participation in the Bell Let's Talk campaign helped inspire more conversation on our campuses and the development of Nova Scotia Community College's own Mental Health Strategy," said Don Bureaux, President of Nova Scotia Community College. "Supporting mental wellness is an important part of building a healthy community. By increasing awareness and supporting those living with mental health challenges, we will foster a better learning and working environment." "Having conversations with our student-athletes about mental health and fighting the stigma around mental illness is important to Canada West," said Rocky Olfert, Managing Director of Canada West Universities Athletics Association. "We are proud to be part of the Bell Let's Talk initiative and its positive impact on students and their communities across the country."
"Bell Let's Talk Day is a significant annual event for many post-secondary institutions across Canada, including Queen's University, to advance the conversation about mental health," said 2/3 Ann Tierney, Vice Provost and Dean of Student Affairs at Queen's University. "Our students lead the way in talking about their own experiences, and how they are helping their peers. The Bell Let's Talk campaign is also an opportunity for us to promote access to services and programs, and enhance the ongoing dialogue about mental health, helping to foster a healthier campus community for students, faculty and staff." "Our network of colleges supports students day after day to strengthen their mental health," said Bernard Tremblay, President of the Fédération des CÉGEPs. "By participating in Bell Let's Talk, we are proud to show students that raising awareness and reducing the stigma is a top priority." Last May, Bell and The Rossy Foundation partnered on a joint $500,000 donation to the Fédération des CÉGEPS and the Fondation de l'Université du Québec à Montréal to improve the mental health of college students in Québec. Those funds are enabling the broader implementation and evaluation of the Zenétudes program, supporting students making the transition from secondary school to college. To see a complete list of participating universities and colleges please click here. According to Canada's most recent National College Health Assessment Survey in 2016, 32% of students were diagnosed or treated for anxiety or depression in the previous year. In January 2018, Bell Let's Talk and The Rossy Foundation announced a joint $1,000,000 donation to create a national standard for post-secondary student mental health. Led by the Mental Health Commission of Canada, the project will establish mental health best practices at Canadian campuses to support student success. Join in on Bell Let's Talk Day On January 30, Bell will donate 5 cents to Canadian mental health programs for each of the following interactions, at no extra cost to participants beyond what they would normally pay their service provider for online or phone access:
Talk: Every mobile and every long distance call made by Bell wireless and phone customers
Text: Every text message sent by Bell wireless customers
Twitter: Every tweet and retweet using #BellLetsTalk, featuring the special Bell Let's Talk emoji, and every Bell Let's Talk Day video view at Twitter.com/Bell_LetsTalk
Facebook: Every Bell Let's Talk Day video view at Facebook.com/BellLetsTalk and every use of the Bell Let's Talk frame
Instagram: Every Bell Let's Talk Day video view at Instagram.com/Bell_letstalk
Snapchat: Every use of the Bell Let's Talk filter and every Bell Let's Talk Day video view
Total Bell Let's Talk Day interactions since the first event in 2011 stand at 867,449,649 and are expected to exceed 1 billion on January 30. Bell's funding commitment for mental health, including the company's donations based on Bell Let's Talk engagement and its original $50- million donation to launch the initiative, is now $93,423,628.80 and expected to surpass $100 million on January 30. About Bell Let's Talk, The Bell Let's Talk mental health initiative is focused on 4 key action pillars: Anti-stigma, Care and Access, Research and Workplace Leadership. Since its launch in September 2010, Bell 3/3 Let's Talk has partnered with more than 900 organizations providing mental health services throughout Canada, including major donations to hospitals, universities and other care and research organizations. To learn more, please visit Bell.ca/LetsTalk.