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A global conversation about mental health #BellLetsTalk

A global conversation about mental health #BellLetsTalk

In 2016, Bell Let's Talk Day set a new record, raising $6,295,764.75 through 125.9 million messages of support.

A mental health initiative promoted by telecommunications company Bell Canada has gained momentum via social networks.

One of the major mental health advocates who has gotten behind the campaign since it began in 2011 is Canadian Olympic champion Clara Hughes.

In Canada, Bell pledged to donate five cents toward mental health initiatives for every text and call by Bell Canada and Bell Aliant customers, as well as every Facebook video view and tweet that uses the hashtag #BellLetsTalk.

The "Time to Talk Day" on Thursday, February 2 is being run by charities Mind and Rethink Mental Illness with the aim of getting people to talk to each other about mental health issues. This year, the program has also enlisted varsity athletes at 54 university across the country to raise awareness at sporting events and rallies.

Bell Canada also worked with its employee assistance provider and Queen's University to create a certificate program for managers in workplace mental health. "We now offer Mental Health First Aid courses in several provinces stemming from our partnership with the Mental Health Commission of Canada".

Deacon and Hughes are in the midst of a coast-to-coast-to-coast tour, handing out cheques to some of the hundreds of community organizations that receive funding.

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"Stigma is the No. 1 reason that people with mental health issues don't seek treatment", Deacon said.

"It's just incredible the difference you can see". Hibbard said they key there is also getting it out in the open.

Their mission is to reduce mental health stigma by hosting annual Outrun the Stigma events and an online story-sharing platform.

"There are still far too many tragic stories where people haven't received the help they need", she said.

Yvonne Harder, the centre's executive director, said the mental health and psychological first aid training is about listening to people experiencing a mental health crisis and linking them with the appropriate resources.

All the donations Kocis and Bourque collect will go to the Canadian Mental Health Association.

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