JAC: Let’s Talk

by Vanessa Burns

In the past four years, Bell’s Let’s Talk annual campaign has helped raise a total of $67.5 million for mental health initiatives across Canada. This year, JAC’s Head on Health group, led by Anne Smith, is bringing this wonderful campaign to Abbott on Wednesday, January 28th from 10:30 to 2:30 in the Agora.

What is Bell Let’s Talk day, anyways? Each year, Bell completely devotes one day to raising funds for mental health programs across Canada. On that day, Bell donates 5¢ to organizations supporting mental health for each text message, mobile or long distance call by a Bell customer, each tweet using the hashtag #BellLetsTalk, and each Facebook image share. Last year, more than 100 million texts, calls, tweets, and shares raised almost $5.5 million for mental health initiatives across Canada.

The idea behind this event is to get Canadians talking about mental illness, hence the name “Let’s Talk”. There is a huge stigma surrounding mental illness; by talking about it, we are spreading awareness about this topic and we are ending the stigma, little by little. For example, if more Canadians knew that 1 in 5 of us will experience some form of mental illness in our lifetimes, we would be more understanding of people who are suffering. Educating ourselves is one of the ways in which the Let’s Talk campaign encourages people to help end the stigma.

On January 28th, different booths will be set up in the newly renovated Agora with information and trivia about mental illness to help educate students and staff. Resources will also be accessible to students who are looking for help. Those who come to the event will be invited to sign a banner to demonstrate their solidarity with this movement. In addition to these kiosks, one will be dedicated to explaining the Bell Let’s Talk initiative and encouraging students and faculty to text, call, tweet, and share to raise funds for the cause. There will be computers available to allow supporters to do so.

Mental health is something that all Canadians should be talking about… so join the movement! On January 28th, let’s talk.

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