As a Canadian call centre that takes great pride in its green and social justice mandates, we are always keen to read about the CSR business initiatives of other companies. Being a small business we are more limited than larger corporations but that doesn’t stop us from wanting to learn and be inspired by them and Bell Let’s Talk Day is a prime example. Last year I wrote about Bell’s Let’s Talk initiative, which has the goal of helping to erase the stigma associated with mental health. A staggering one in five Canadians will suffer from mental health issues in their lifetime and that’s what makes this such an important CSR business program.
2 in 3 people suffer in silence fearing judgment and rejection – Canadian Medical Association
Let’s Talk is a major undertaking as in 2010 Bell announced it would be contributing $50 million over 5 years to mental health initiatives. The Bell Mental Health initiative supports a wide range of programs based on 4 pillars: 1) Anti-stigma; 2) Community Care and Access; 3) Research; and 4) Workplace Mental health. The focus of Let’s Talk Day 2013 is “the impact of mental illness on our workplaces and economy” and it has already started the dialogue.
Canadian Olympian Clara Hughes returns as the spokesperson for Let’s Talk Day and she is joined by composer and performer Stefie Shock,actor-comedian Michel Mpambara and award-winning CTV correspondent Seamus O’Regan. The hope is that these four will be able to reach Canadians and inspire them to join in on the discussion and spread awareness about mental health.
At any given time, almost 3 million Canadians have serious depression – CMHA
Bell’s Let’s Talk Day takes place on February 12th, 2013 and on this day, Bell will make a donation of $0.05 to various mental health initiatives for every:
Text message and long distance call from Bell or Bell Aliant customers;
Tweet using the event hashtag #BellLetsTalk; and
Facebook share of the Bell Let’s Talk image
By incorporating social media into this program, they are not only opening up the dialogue into other mediums but they are also allowing those who are not Bell or Bell Aliant customers to participate. Bell is trying to get its Let’s Talk message heard by as many Canadians as possible. To help this along, the NHL are also participating in the mental health awareness campaign with the launch of Hockey Talks.
Mood and anxiety disorders impact an estimated 22% of the Canadian population – CMHA
“Hockey Talks is a month-long initiative to create a national conversation and increase awareness about mental health and wellness. All 7 Canadian NHL teams – Calgary Flames, Edmonton Oilers, Montréal Canadiens, Ottawa Senators, Toronto Maple Leafs, Vancouver Canucks and Winnipeg Jets – are lending their support by dedicating a game night in each respective city to Hockey Talks.”
Bell is trying to expand the reach of this campaign and attract the attention of a cross-section of Canadians. By using social media, having numerous spokespersons and now with the involvement of the NHL they are giving an identifiable face to mental health to help erase the stigma associated with it.
Once depression is recognized, help can make a difference for 80% of people who are affected, allowing them to get back to their regular activities – CMHA