Mental Health Day

Bell Canada is promoting the discussion of mental health this month with their annual Bell Let’s Talk Day program. On February 8, will donate 5¢ to mental health organizations across Canada. Their hope is to encourage a national conversation about mental health, in order to increase awareness, reduce the stigma attached to mental illness, and improve mental health care across the country.

Beginning in 2010, Bell launched a “multi-year charitable program dedicated to the promotion and support of mental health across Canada.”

One goal of the program is to reduce the stigma attached to those suffering from mental illness, including depression, anxiety disorders, obsessive-compulsive disorder, psychosis, or schizophrenia. Fully two-thirds of those suffering from one of these conditions never seek help due to the stigma attached to mental illness.

Improving access to mental health care is another goal of the Bell Let’s Talk program. So far, Bell has awarded grants and contributions of more than $12.5 million to various mental health organizations, as well as implementing the Bell Let’s Talk Community Fund in 2011 which will “focus on improving access to care in local communities.”

Beyond these initiatives, Bell is focused on improving access to mental health care in the workplace, sighting mental illness as the leading cause of workplace disability in Canada.

The program also seeks to help fund research into mental health, community outreach programs to promote mental health initiatives, and has enlisted many partners, both corporate and non-profit, to participate in the program.

Lack of access to mental healthcare, the stigma attached to mental illness, and the lack of funding for research into mental health treatments are not unique to Canada. Communities worldwide suffer from the same conditions relating to mental health care. It behooves all of us to work to improve the attitudes of our fellows, and the funding of mental health care programs throughout our communities and the world.What does it mean to have good mental health?

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