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Bell Let’s Talk Day

Bell Let’s Talk Day 2017 is January 25

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Talking is the best way to start breaking down the barriers associated with mental illness.

Since 2010, Bell has committed $100 million to mental health initiatives in Canada.

Join the conversation.
You can help! Join the conversation around mental illness and take part in Bell Let’s Talk activities.
Here are a few links:

Let’s Talk Day Toolkit
Help and Resources
Bell Let’s Talk Community Fund

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Bell Let’s Talk Day 2016 is January 27

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Bell Let’s Talk Day 2015 January 28
Bell Let’s Talk Day is one of the few easy-to-find resources and initiatives for folks to explore and change their perspectives around mental health and the importance to accept it as simply one of many components of our healthcare – just like eyes, teeth or heart-health. We’re smart enough now – aren’t we people?? – to understand that the old definition of the word “mental” was misused (limiting) in the absence of a more detailed understanding of our brain/body/mind connection and the spectrum of the manifestations of these health concerns in proposing options for better overall health and quality of life. You may be slightly near-sighted… or advanced stage macular degeneration: the difference in no way makes you inferior, but will affect both intervention and management choices; as will a mental challenge such as a simple limiting belief you adapted at age 6 when a  teacher belittled you and that affects you to this day in your relationships with bosses, vs. say, genetically inherited schizophrenia. There is a spectrum, all of us are completely equal, and we are lucky enough that the boom of research and development of mental health info and tools in the past few years are offering clearer options and support for people to modify their lives. It can be a journey to find your personal fit and personally, I thank proactive individuals and organizations such as Bell and their gallant team for continually providing a leaping-off point.

Check out Clara’s awesome interview after 2014’s Big Ride 

Let's Talk Team '15

*The fifth annual Bell Let’s Talk conversation continues to grow each year, and we continue to make progress toward ending the stigma by talking about how mental illness affects all of us.  On Bell Let’s Talk Day, every one of us has the opportunity to support those who struggle and help drive funding and action in Canadian mental health.

Join the national conversation about mental health!

  • Bell Let’s Talk national spokesperson Clara Hughes again invites you to the conversation about mental health on the fifth annual Bell Let’s Talk Day
  • Michael Landsberg, Howie Mandel and Mary Walsh join Clara, Michel Mpambara and Stefie Shock on the Bell Let’s Talk team
  • Learn 5 simple ways to help end the stigma around mental illness (below)
  • On January 28, talk, text, tweet and share to help grow Bell’s funding for Canadian mental health
  • Please visit to learn more and download the toolkit

5 simple ways to help end the stigma

While 1 in 5 Canadians will experience mental illness at some point in their lives, the lingering stigma means 2 in 3 will struggle in silence fearing judgment and rejection. This year’s Bell Let’s Talk’s campaign focuses on 5 simple ways we can all help end the stigma around mental illness:

  • Language matters – pay attention to the words you use about mental illness
  • Educate yourself – learn, know and talk more, understand the signs
  • Be kind – small acts of kindness speak a lot
  • Listen and ask – sometimes it’s best to just listen
  • Talk about it – start a dialogue, break the silence

“Ending the stigma of mental illness depends on building greater awareness, acceptance and action. These are 5 simple ways all Canadians can help build a culture in which people struggling with mental illness feel supported and not afraid,” said Mary Deacon, Chair of Bell Let’s Talk. “We are so grateful to all our spokespeople, ambassadors and partners for leading the conversation about how we can all contribute to creating a nation free of the stigma around mental illness.”

To learn more about the campaign, and to download the Bell Let’s Talk toolkit to help get the conversation started, please visit

* adapted from press release XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX

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Bell Let’s Talk 2014:

Bell Let’s Talk Day 2014 is January 28
Clara’s Big Ride starts March 14, finishing July 1

Join the Canada-wide conversation about mental health!

National spokesperson Clara Hughes and friends across the country invite you to talk openly about mental illness to help break the stigma

Sports figures Shea Emry and Joé Juneau, musicians Matthew Good and Robb Nash, and comic Kevin Breel join Clara, Michel Mpambara, Seamus O’Regan and Stefie Shock on the Bell Let’s Talk team

On January 28, Bell will donate 5¢ to mental health for your texts, calls and tweets – you can help drive Bell Let’s Talk funding beyond the $62,043,289.30 already committed by Bell

To learn more please visit

MONTRÉAL, January 6, 2014 – Bell today launched the 2014 Bell Let’s Talk campaign in support of Canadian mental health, highlighted by the fourth annual Bell Let’s Talk Day on January 28. National spokesperson Clara Hughes again leads the campaign inviting all Canadians to talk, text and tweet about mental health to help end the stigma around mental illness and support mental health initiatives around the country.

“Canadians everywhere are talking about mental health like never before. I’m proud that Bell Let’s Talk has been part of the progress, working to help reduce the stigma by engaging everyone in the mental health conversation. Let’s keep the momentum rolling by talking like never before!” said Ms. Hughes, Canada’s six-time Olympic medalist and national Bell Let’s Talk ambassador since the initiative launched in 2010. “We all have family members, friends or colleagues who will experience mental illness or we may struggle ourselves, as I have – yet most people impacted still won’t seek support because they fear admitting they need help. By talking openly and supportively about mental illness, we can all help break the stigma and improve Canadian mental health.”

While 20% of Canadians will experience a mental illness in their lifetimes, 2 in 3 suffer in silence for fear of being judged or rejected because of the continuing stigma. Bell Let’s Talk is working to end the stigma while providing significant funding to leading mental health institutions and grassroots organizations in every province and territory, championing new workplace initiatives across corporate Canada, and supporting new research at Canadian universities and other institutions.  Full press release at

Let’s keep the conversation rolling…

Clara’s Big Ride for Bell Let’s Talk

Calling all Canadians… On March 14, 2014, Bell Let’s Talk is going even further. Now in its third year, we’re taking the conversation around the country, transforming it into an event spanning more than:

  • 12,000 km
  • 110 days
  • 95 community stops

We’re going the whole distance… Clara’s Big Ride will drive positive, long-term change in the way Canadians perceive mental illness.

Mobilizing. Engaging. Connecting.  Created to reach Canadians at the grassroots level – at home, school and around the boardroom table – this endeavour is designed to encourage long-term positive change in communities and help end the stigma associated with mental illness.

Making a difference starts with the next generation.  Clara will bravely share her personal mental health story with students. The goal? To empower youth to understand what mental health means to them and how they can support others who may be suffering.

Connecting with communities.  Community events will be designed to create meaningful opportunities for community building and fundraising in support of local mental health organizations. Every fundraising dollar will stay in that community to help create a lasting mental health legacy.

The ride culminates on Canada Day, July 1 2014, in Ottawa.

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From Let’s Talk Day 2013:

The Let’s Talk website includes some thought-provoking facts.

Here’s one: one in five Canadians will experience a form of mental illness at some point in their lives, according to the Canadian Institute of Health Research.

And it seems as if many Canadians who don’t suffer from mental health problems are uncomfortable with those who do. Only 49 per cent of Canadians said they would socialize with a friend who has a serious mental illness, the Canadian Medical Association found in a poll.

What are your thoughts on mental health? Have you or someone you love faced mental health issues? How would you change the conversation if you could?

A record-setting Bell Let’s Talk Day – an unprecedented national conversation about mental health


  • On the third Bell Let’s Talk Day Clara Hughes leads millions in talking about mental illness to end the stigma
  • 96,266,266 calls, texts, tweets and Facebook shares by Canadians on Bell Let’s Talk Day means an additional $4,813,313.30 for mental health programs
  • Bell has now committed a total of $62,043,289.30 to Canadian mental health

MONTREAL, Feb. 13, 2013 /CNW Telbec/ – Canadian mental health will see a further $4,813,313.30 million investment from Bell thanks to an outstanding response by Canadians on Bell Let’s Talk Day 2013. People with lived experience, friends, family and colleagues, teachers and students, soldiers, politicians, entertainers, sports teams and players, corporations and competitors, all joined Bell Let’s Talk ambassador Clara Hughes in talking about mental health in order to end the stigma of mental illness.

Bell Let’s Talk Day also drives new investment in mental health, with Bell committing additional funding based on the extent of conversation:

  • Bell Let’s Talk Day 2013 resulted in a total of 96,266,266 texts and long distance calls by Bell and Bell Aliant customers, tweets using #BellLetsTalk, and Facebook shares of the Bell Let’s Talk Day image.
  • With Bell donating 5 cents for each of these communications, that means $4,813,313.30 in additional funding for Canadian mental health programs – a 23% increase over last year’s Bell Let’s Talk Day total.
  • Bell Let’s Talk 2013 really took off on Twitter, with 1,562,485 tweets and retweets. Bell Let’s Talk was a top trend in both Canada and the U.S. on Twitter, with support from hundreds of thousands of Canadians, including Governor General David Johnston, Prime Minister Stephen Harper, federal members of Parliament, provincial premiers and ministers, the Canadian Armed Forces, sports teams and players, and Canadian entertainers including Justin Bieber and William Shatner.

“Wow Canada! What an incredible response to the call to help end the terrible stigma around mental illness. By talking so openly with family, friends, neighbours and colleagues about the real impact of mental illness, we’re saying the time has come for this disease to come out of the shadows,” said Ms. Hughes, Canada’s six-time Olympic medalist. “The Bell Let’s Talk conversation has grown significantly each year but the energy and scope of this year’s campaign beat all expectations. On behalf of the untold numbers of Canadians whose lives will be improved by your participation, I truly thank everyone for making Bell Let’s Talk 2013 such an incredible success!”

Fighting the stigma is the first step in moving Canadian mental health forward. Two out of 3 people with mental health issues still suffer in silence for fear of being judged or rejected because of the continuing stigma around the disease. One of the most pervasive yet misunderstood and underfunded of health issues, mental illness costs the Canadian economy more than $52 billion a year.

“There’s no question now that mental health has momentum in Canada,” said George Cope, President and CEO of Bell and BCE. “The Bell Let’s Talk team is profoundly grateful for the depth of support for the cause from all corners of Canadian life. To everyone who talked about mental health yesterday, and will keep on talking until we end the stigma, thank you very much for your support.”

Bell launched the Bell Let’s Talk mental health initiative in September 2010 with an initial commitment of $50 million over 5 years. Going into Bell Let’s Talk Day 2013, that figure had grown to $57,229,976, thanks to the $3,303,961.80 resulting from Bell Let’s Talk Day 2011 and $3,926,014.20 from 2012.

With the results of Bell Let’s Talk Day 2013, Bell is now committed to investing a total of $62,043,289.30 in Canadian mental health.

From 2012:

On February 8, let’s talk.

One in five Canadians suffers from mental illness, impacting countless lives and taking a heavy toll on our nation’s economy.

But mental illness carries a stigma, and many who suffer won’t get the help they need because they’re too afraid to talk about it.

Clara Hughes, Olympic champion

That’s why I’m proud to support Bell Let’s Talk Day on February 8.

For every text message sent and every long distance call made by Bell customers that day,* Bell will donate 5¢ to Canadian mental health programs.

Please join me in the national conversation. Together, we can change attitudes and make a real difference. To learn more,
visit *Regular long distance and text message charges apply.

*   *   *   *    *    *

For the skeptics: Some people are paying more attention to Bell Canada’s potential financial gain from Let’s Talk Day than they are to mental health awareness.

Personally, I think the skeptics are missing the point entirely… and it makes me wonder what’s going on in their lives that they are procrastinating from??
To me, if one person has gained the courage to take action in making their life more fulfilling from the awareness of Bell’s campaign, it is money/time/p.r. well spent – and money well earned should that be the case for Bell.

Maybe it is the sister of the skeptic who will finally admit that she needs help, and reach out to them. If so, will they know what to do, who to call?

Many more will because of this movement.

I liked the perspective of this blogger -SL:

Unless you live under a rock, or don’t hang out on the Internet at all, you probably know that yesterday was Bell Let’s Talk day. This is an initiative that Bell Media has put on for the past 3 years, in an effort to get people talking about mental health. It is also, apparently, a very controversial campaign that has caused a lot of talk about whether it’s right or wrong for a telecommunications giant to be involved in something like this in the manner that Bell is.

Rather than focus too much on the controversial aspects, I’d like to focus on some of the other campaign factors to see if it’s actually worth it for Bell, and whether the campaign is successful at getting Canadians to think about mental health.

I’d also like to say, for the record, that I disagree with the skeptics, and think that it is a great initiative for Bell to be doing, regardless of their motive. Mental health is something that hits home for me – my sister suffered from undiagnosed PPD – and I believe this campaign does get Canadians thinking, and talking about mental health much more than they normally do, even on the official World Mental Health Day (October 13).

First, some of the details on the Let’s Talk campaign, which is actually a very simple concept. For every 1) text message sent by a Bell customer, or 2) Long distance call made by a Bell customer, or 3) Tweet using #BellLetsTalk/#BellCause, or 4) Facebook share of the Bell Let’s Talk image today, Bell will donate 5¢ to help fund mental health initiatives across Canada. The two main charitable partners highlighted (though not as well as they could have been) in this campaign are Kids Help Phone and Canadian Mental Health Association. There are a few others too.

Second, a few blog posts covering both sides: Darren Barefoot: Why today is about Bell Canada and not mental health Marc Weisblot Bell Let’s Talk Day is a pause from the cause of Bell Media’s shopping spree Tom Megginson: Let’s Talk about Buyral Marketing #BellLetsTalk George Malik: Red Wings support mental illness awareness via ‘Do it for Daron’ Kent Basky: Canucks Brunch – Let’s Talk Day Neil: Bell Let’s Talk Campaign

In 2012, the total donated after Let’s Talk Day was $4 million – and there were a total of 100,000 Tweets sent. As of midnight MT last night, that total had been surpassed after more than 88 million total actions were taken. The total donation for 2013 is likely to end up in the $4.5 million range – from just shy of 90 million tweets, texts, shares and long-distance calls.

Bell purchased promoted Tweets and a promoted trend on Twitter today. That’s no small expenditure in terms of advertising cost, but it’s also a drop in the bucket for Bell, which is a very profitable, multi-billion dollar company with a huge advertising budget. However, it is a necessary step for an brand-based online Twitter campaign to truly take off – no matter how compelling it is.

There were a lot of interesting things about how this campaign rolled out throughout the day, but I thought that the two coolest things were that Rogers got in on the action and, more importantly, that “mental health” was trending on Twitter in Canada for much of the day. Regardless of whether Twitter users attached Bell’s brand to it, the fact that those two words were trending helps brings awareness to a much wider audience, and helps Bell achieve their goals.

The trending was in no small part due to the fact that lots of highly influential people and organizations got involved on Twitter this year (like my company did). In addition to all the TSN hosts (who work for Bell) who Tweeted throughout the day, here are some links to the other big-name Tweets that were sent: NHL, William Shatner, Stephen Harper, Kevin Smith, Justin Bieber, Kristen Bell, Naheed Nenshi, Calgary Flames, Detroit Red Wings, Toronto Maple Leafs, Montreal Canadiens, WestJet, Strombo, Brandon Prust, Paul Bissonnette, Rick Mercer, Trish Stratus, Teegan and Sarah… OK, you get the picture. There were lots of heavy-hitters in the mix.

The final numbers came in late last night and the of the approximately 89 million actions, the publicly-available social media breakdown was just under 2 million (1.6 million Tweets and 215,000 Facebook shares). The rest came from 1-to-1 text messages and phone calls. My best guess is that text messages made up for about 70 million actions, and the rest came from long-distance calls.

So, the “huge PR for Bell” that most of the skeptics refer to is based on approximately 2 million actions on social media, since the texts and phone calls don’t add anything to Bell’s brand awareness. What does that equate to?

From my experience in the digital and social media world, I can say that those social media actions aren’t worth nearly as much to the brand as people think they are. They are better than nothign for sure, but they’re definitely not worth millions in “free advertising”.

The Facebook shares will be seen by more people total, even though the total potential Facebook audience (i.e. combined total number of friends of users who shared/liked/commented on the photo) is lower than the potential Twitter audience (i.e. combined total number of all followers of all Twitter users who Tweeted with the hashtag). The reason that Facebook will have a bigger impact is because of the latency effect – posts/photos tend to hang around the Facebook newsfeed for longer than Tweets in the Twitter home feed. If someone wasn’t paying attention to their Twitter feed at the exact moment someone they follow tweeted with the hashtag, that Tweet will be pushed down into the stream and, essentially, disappear into the Twitter void.

There are a few different metrics that people use, but I believe – based on experience – that only about 1% of a user’s total Twitter followers on will actually see any given Tweet they send. So, while Justin Bieber’s 34 million Twitter followers seems like a pretty big number, his Tweet only generated 17,000 retweets, which equals about 0.05% engagement. About 350,000 of his followers would have likely seen his one Tweet. More than 610,000 of the total uses of the campaign hashtag were straight-up retweets, which are easy to do for a user, but fewer people actually pay attention to RTs. 430,000+ users actually took the time to write their own Tweet, and those are the ones that most people will actually read.

Here are some interesting and publicly-available facts that I found in/calculated from BCE’s 2012 Q4 and year-end financial results. Bell’s total cellular user base is 7.7 million people in Canada and their average daily revenue from long distance (landlines only) is $2.1 million. During Let’s Talk Day, that would equate to each cell user sending 9-10 text messages (which isn’t that much more than an average day for most people) and a handful more long-distance calls made than normal. I actually read a tweet from a girl who sent over 1500 texts!!

If everyone is focusing on how much Bell gets from this campaign, I think they’re missing the point entirely. This campaign definitely gets them some positive PR, but not as much as they’ve spent on promoting it. I’ve seen tons of ads on TSN, CTV, etc. recently and, while they don’t have to pay for the ad to go up, every Let’s Talk ad they show on their networks bumps one paid ad so there is a cost involved.

If the total donation is around $4.5 million, this campaign would likely cost them around $5 million total. When you combine the value of the 2 million social media mentions with the revenue that extra text messages will cost users (without unlimited text plans) and a mild increase in long distance revenue, this campaign puts them in the black, but it it’s not the windfall that most expect it to be. Even the tax deduction is a joke for a company the size of Bell. A $4.5 million deduction on almost $20 billion in revenue is the equivalent of someone who makes $50k per year donating $11.25.

As Darren Barefoot suggested in his blog post, instead of having it on their own day, and putting their brand all over the campaign, Bell should join up with World Mental Health Day to help raise awareness and donations. This is an interesting idea, especially given the fact that last year’s WMHD only created a total of 5,700 mentions on the Internet (33,000 if you include the Friday prior and Monday after October 13, which unfortunately fell on a weekend last year). Maybe having a media giant like Bell involved on the “official” World Mental Health Day would help raise overall awareness… but then again, maybe not.

I have my opinions, and don’t necessarily have all the right answers, but I do have two questions to leave you with:

1) if Bell jumped onto the World Mental Health Day bandwagon with their campaign, would they be criticized for trying to capitalize on an existing “feel-good” day, or would their efforts be as successful at getting as many people to think about mental health issues as they did on Let’s Talk Day 2013?

2) is one day per year enough to remind people that we need to work more on mental health issues?


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