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Bell Let’s Talk doubles Community Fund for grassroots mental health programs

Bell Let’s Talk doubles Community Fund for grassroots mental health programs
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$2 million in annual funding for community organizations nationwide

MONTRÉAL – As Canada gets ready for Bell Let’s Talk Day on January 31, Bell today announced it is doubling its annual Bell Let’s Talk Community Fund to $2 million. Accepting applications for 2018 grants starting today, the Community Fund supports local mental health programs that improve access to care in Canadian communities of all sizes.

 “The Community Fund is a Bell Let’s Talk program that recognizes the important mental health work of dedicated local organizations in communities all around Canada. We’re very pleased to make more funds available to support these frontline groups in meeting the growing demand for local care initiatives,” said Mary Deacon, Chair of Bell Let’s Talk.

“I commend Bell for continuing to provide an opportunity, through Bell Let’s Talk, to reflect on how we can tackle the stigma that surrounds mental health and remove barriers to access,” said the Honourable Ginette Petitpas Taylor, Minister of Health. “As Minister of Health, I believe strongly in advancing the work that needs to be done on mental health, and want to thank all groups across the country for the support they provide to Canadians suffering from mental illness. I look forward to participating on January 31, and invite all Canadians to join the conversation to shine a light on mental illness.”

The $1 million annual Bell Let’s Talk Community Fund has provided individual grants of up to $25,000 to registered Canadian charities since its launch in 2011. A committee of mental health experts reviews all applications submitted, and a total of 414 grants have been provided to local initiatives since 2011.

“Funding grassroots mental health supports and services is critical to building stronger families and communities,” said Fred Phelps, Executive Director of the Canadian Association of Social Workers and Chair of the Canadian Alliance on Mental Illness and Mental Health campaign. “The mental health of Canadians depends on accessing a continuum of services that support journeys of recovery. I applaud Bell Let’s Talk for recognizing how important this is and for making significant investments in our communities that support people in accessing the help they need, where and when they need it.”

“Music and the arts are essential for a healthy life. Our Community Fund grant allowed Artists in Healthcare to bring life-changing arts programming including dance/movement therapy and live music to Selkirk Mental Health Centre. The impact for our clients was incredibly positive,” said Shirley Grierson, Executive Director of Selkirk Mental Health Centre.

“The Bell Let’s Talk Community Fund has been a game changer, enabling us to research, develop and implement a comprehensive volunteer program, which would have been virtually impossible to have accomplished on our own,” said Bo Turpin, Director Clinical Services and Programming for Upstream Ottawa. “With this support, our volunteers are able to help our clients with a myriad of practical supports that are central to their recovery.”

“Thanks to the Bell Let’s Talk Community Fund, 28 peer helpers from Phobies-Zéro received 5 days of training on how to administer a self-management program to help those struggling with anxiety in their recovery,” said Marie-Andrée Laplante, Founding President of Phobies-Zéro. “Phobies-Zéro can now help a greater number of individuals with anxiety by offering them a program whose benefits have been proven.”

“Rates of mental health conditions among people with an intellectual or developmental disability may be 3 to 4 times higher than the general population,” said Danny Soucy, New Brunswick Association of Community Living’s Executive Director. “Funding from Bell Let’s Talk allowed us to address the needs of those who may be affected by such a dual diagnosis, and their families, by providing helpful and important information and guidance.”

The 2018 application period for Bell Let’s Talk Community Fund grants runs until March 31 and all 2018 grants will be disbursed before December 31, 2018. To learn more about the Bell Let’s Talk Community Fund and to apply for 2018 funding, please visit Bell.ca/LetsTalk.

Bell Let’s Talk Day is January 31
We invite everyone to join the mental health conversation on Bell Let’s Talk Day. Bell will donate 5 cents to Canadian mental health programs for each of these interactions on January 31, at no extra cost to participants:

  • Text and talk: Every text message, mobile and long distance call made by Bell Canada, Bell Aliant and Bell MTS customers
  • Twitter: Every tweet using #BellLetsTalk and Bell Let’s Talk Day video view
  • Facebook: Every view of the Bell Let’s Talk Day video at Facebook.com/BellLetsTalk and use of the Bell Let’s Talk frame
  • Instagram: Every Bell Let’s Talk Day video view
  • Snapchat: Every use of the Bell Let’s Talk filter and video view

Bell Let’s Talk Day 2017 set all-new records with 131,705,010 messages, growing Bell’s funding for Canadian mental health by $6,585,250.50. #BellLetsTalk was Canada’s top hashtag in 2017, and is now the most used Twitter hashtag ever in Canada.

With approximately 729,065,654 interactions by Canadians over the last 7 Bell Let’s Talk Days, Bell’s total commitment to mental health, including an original $50-million anchor donation in 2010, has risen to $86,504,429.05. Bell expects its donation commitment to reach at least $100 million in 2020.

The Bell Let’s Talk initiative promotes Canadian mental health with national awareness and anti-stigma campaigns like Bell Let’s Talk Day, and provides significant Bell funding of community care and access, research and workplace initiatives. To learn more about the campaign, and to download the Bell Let’s Talk toolkit to help get the conversation started, please visit Bell.ca/LetsTalk.

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