Bell Let’s Talk and Bell Aliant support Nunatsiavut Government’s Going Off, Growing Strong youth program

Nain, Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Bell Let’s Talk and Bell Aliant support Nunatsiavut Government’s Going Off, Growing Strong youth program

NAIN, January 20, 2015 – Bell Let’s Talk and Bell Aliant today announced a $150,000 investment in the Nunatsiavut Government’s Aullak sangilivallianginnatuk - Going Off, Growing Strong program to enhance mental health services for youth in Nain.

Going Off, Growing Strong links youth participants with positive adult role models in the community. The long-term, intensive program matches experienced and trusted harvesters with youth to take them out on the land, in pairs and as a group, to teach them how to hunt, fish, collect firewood, navigate, and prepare wild foods. Program participants also help the community by preparing wild food for the community freezer and distributing it to elders. This unique program helps develop the mental health, resilience and social connections of its participants.

“During my visit to Nain last year as part of Clara’s Big Ride, I was so inspired by the young people I met,” said Clara Hughes, Canada’s six-time Olympic medalist and Bell Let’s Talk national spokesperson. “But I also saw how isolated communities have fewer resources available to help young people grow and develop. I’m so proud that Bell Let’s Talk is supporting youth in Nain and addressing their mental health needs through this wonderful program.”

Nunatsiavut President Sarah Leo says the contribution from Bell Let’s Talk will help build on the tremendous success of the Going Off, Growing Strong program.

“We are very aware of the mental health challenges in Nunatsiavut, and we are also very much aware of our strengths,” she said. “I have seen, first-hand, the positive impact that the Going Off, Growing Strong program has had on its youth participants and the community. The funding from Bell Let’s Talk will help us grow this impact, hire an additional staff member for three years and put the program on a path towards sustainability. We’re very thankful for that.”

Dorothy Angnatok, a leader in the Going Off, Growing Strong program, who can be seen in the documentary Clara’s Big Ride airing on CTV, January 28 at 7 pm, has noticed a positive change in youth in the community since the introduction of the program.

“You can see it in their eyes and in the way that their confidence has grown,” she says. When we first started, a lot of the youth were too nervous to go into elder’s homes to share wild foods from the community freezer. Now they race each other into the homes to share food. That new-found sense of community connection, culture and confidence is amazing to see.”

“Helping communities care for those facing mental health challenges is a priority for Bell Aliant, so we are pleased to build on our existing partnership with the Nunatsiavut Government to support youth mental health in Nain,” said Dan McKeen, Vice Chair and Senior Vice President Residential Services, Bell Aliant. “The Going Off, Growing Strong program provides life changing skills for youth that will not only help the young people themselves but their community at large.”

Join the conversation on Bell Let’s Talk Day On January 28, for every text message, wireless and long distance call made by Bell Canada and Bell Aliant customers, every tweet using #BellLetsTalk, and every Facebook share of that day’s Bell Let’s Talk Day image at Facebook.com/BellLetsTalk, Bell will donate 5 cents more to Canadian mental health programs.

In 2014, Canadians answered the call with a total of 109,451,718 messages including texts, wireless and long distance calls, tweets and Facebook shares, meaning Bell added another $5,472,585,90 to its Bell Let’s Talk funding commitment. Based on its original $50 million donation and the results of the last 4 Bell Let’s Talk Days, Bell has now committed more than $67.5 million to Canadian mental health.

Bell’s donations are made at no extra charge to Bell Let’s Talk Day participants, though normal long distance or text charges, if any, apply.

The Bell Let's Talk mental health initiative Bell Let’s Talk promotes mental health based on 4 action pillars – anti-stigma, care and access, research, and workplace best practices. The initiative supports mental health leaders across the country including the Royal Ottawa Hospital, Institut universitaire en santé mentale de Montréal, Hôpital Charles-LeMoyne, Montreal Jewish Hospital, the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH), the University of British Columbia, the Douglas Mental Health University Institute, Queen’s University, La Fondation du Centre hospitalier universitaire de Québec, Concordia University, Brain Canada, Kids Help Phone, Sunnybrook Hospital and Université Laval Foundation.

The annual Bell Let’s Talk Community Fund supports front-line mental health organizations in every region of the country. The Fund has provided grants of $5,000 to $50,000 to hundreds of community organizations focused on improving access to programs and services that support people living with mental health issues.

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

About BCE BCE is Canada's largest communications company, providing a comprehensive and innovative suite of broadband communication services to residential and business customers under the Bell Canada and Bell Aliant brands. Bell Media is Canada's premier multimedia company with leading assets in television, radio, out of home and digital media, including CTV, Canada's #1 television network, and the country's most-watched specialty channels. To learn more, please visit BCE.ca.

Media Contacts:

Bert Pomeroy Director of Communications Nunatsiavut Government (709) 896-8582 Bert_pomeroy@nunatsiavut.com

Katie Burgess Bell Aliant Corporate Affairs 902 487-6198 katie.burgess@bellaliant.ca

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