Why we need more than just Bell Let’s Talk Day

Now in its eighth year, nationwide event raises nearly $7 million for mental health initiatives

At the end of each January, Bell Media flexes its corporate muscle and hosts Bell Let’s Talk Day, an annual charitable event unlike any other.

Last Tuesday, it raised a record $6,919,199.75 for various charities, hospitals, and mental health initiatives, as an unprecedented 138,383,995 messages and social interactions took place across social-media platforms in support of mental health.

It’s clear that figures like the ones above clearly express our shared willingness to further an important conversation and de-stigmatize the issue.

As East York residents and members of a larger social fabric, we need to be at the forefront of this change. Through our friends, family, and classmates, we’ve seen firsthand the importance of creating a climate in which mental health is prioritized and understand we must be the generation that tackles the issue head-on.

While Bell Let’s Talk Day serves as an excellent start, Canada needs more corporations, brands and, in particular, professional sports franchises to host their own events in conjunction with the overall mental health initiative. 

Imagine the amount of awareness that could be raised if more local teams hosted their own annual mental health-based charitable initiatives. The Toronto Maple Leafs’ Hockey Talks Mental Health Awareness Night serves as the perfect example, as the annual event is in partnership with the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH).

Across the nation, we’ve also seen university and college student groups argue for resources, like George Brown’s Healthy Campus Initiative, an attempt to prioritize mental health and shift its campus climate to be a more inclusive and accepting for all. 

While small strides have been made through charities and initiatives, the tide still hasn’t completely turned on the manner in which we treat individuals who suffer from mental illness. 

Bell Let’s Talk Day is a key step towards the world we want to create.