Now more than ever! Bell Let's Talk Day sets new records as Canadians take action for mental health with 159,173,435 messages of support

Montréal, Friday, January 29, 2021

• Total talk, text and social media interactions increased 3.1% over last year, reflecting a heightened focus on mental health as we all confront the impacts of COVID-19
• #BellLetsTalk was once again the top Twitter trend in Canada and worldwide
• At 5 cents per message, Bell is donating an additional $7,958,671.75 to mental health; Bell's total funding commitment now stands at $121,373,806.75, on track to our $155 million target

MONTRÉAL, Jan. 29, 2021 - Now more than ever, every action counts in mental health. And the count is in: Canadians and people around the world set all-new records for engagement in the mental health conversation on Bell Let's Talk Day 2021, sharing 159,173,435 messages of support and driving $7,958,671.75 in new mental health funding by Bell.

"Thank you to everyone who joined in on Bell Let's Talk Day to keep Canada's mental health moving forward," said Mirko Bibic, President and CEO of Bell Canada and BCE. "Once again we led the world in talking openly and honestly about mental health and all the ways we can make a difference for people living with mental illness. As we face the added mental health impacts of the COVID crisis, your action is appreciated now more than ever."

"On behalf of the Bell Let's Talk team across Canada, thank you for making your actions count this Bell Let's Talk Day," said Mary Deacon, Chair of the Bell Let's Talk initiative. "We've made incredible strides in mental health awareness and action over the last 11 years, and the challenges of COVID-19 reinforce that we need to keep building on what we've accomplished together. Your incredible support sends a strong signal that mental health matters, and means more Canadians will get better access to the care they need."

From midnight Newfoundland time to midnight Pacific time there were 159,173,435 eligible Bell Let's Talk communications, up 3.1% year over year. Social media engagement – hashtags, filters, frames and video views on Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Snapchat, TikTok, Twitter and YouTube – reached 42,688,092 interactions, with #BellLetsTalk once again the top Twitter trend in Canada and worldwide.

People around the world watched the entertaining Bell Let's Talk Day videos from singer-songwriter Michael Bublé and comedian Maxim Martin on Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Snapchat, TikTok, Twitter and YouTube, with each view counting toward Bell's donations to mental health.

Leaders taking action to support mental health
Leaders and influencers in Canada and around the world also added their voices to the day, including Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, federal, provincial and territorial leaders across all parties, local leaders, sports teams, associations and athletes, government departments, the Canadian Armed Forces and Royal Canadian Mounted Police, major Canadian corporations, healthcare leaders, unions, students and educators, entertainers and celebrities, as well as hundreds of Bell Let's Talk partners around Canada. Please visit Bell.ca/LetsTalk to see highlights.

Thanks to the Bell Let's Talk team!
A big thank you to everyone on the Bell Let's Talk team for continuing to share their personal stories, including the Friends of Bell Let's Talk and our Bell Let's Talk spokespeople Clara Hughes, Michael Landsberg, Howie Mandel, Mary Walsh, Stefie Shock, Michel Mpambara, Marie-Soleil Dion and Étienne Boulay, our community ambassadors pro golfer Andrew Jensen, CFL veteran Shea Emry, Veteran Bruno Guévremont, actress Jessica Holmes, musician Florence K, actress Véronique Bannon, and author and media personality Joanie Gonthier.

Bell Let's Talk Day virtual events across Canada
With COVID-19 restrictions still in force, Canadians found new ways to take part in Bell Let's Talk Day activities and grow the mental health conversation. Virtual events brought people together from every corner of the country to share their messages of support. More than 200 universities and colleges took part in this year's Bell Let's Talk Campus Campaign, which featured a digital toolkit to ensure post-secondary institutions could safely engage students across the country.

Communities and partners raised the Bell Let's Talk flag all around Canada, including Canadian Armed Forces members at CFS Alert near the North Pole, those serving overseas in Latvia and sailors onboard the deployed HMCS Halifax (as well as support from Navy divers beneath the waves at CFB Halifax and other military units and individuals across the country).

New Bell Let's Talk projects
In the lead up to Bell Let's Talk Day 2021 almost $7 million in new funding for mental health projects was announced:

  • $2.5 million to launch the Bell Let's Talk Post-Secondary Fund to support Canadian colleges and universities in implementing the National Standard of Canada for Mental Health and Well-Being for Post-Secondary Students

  • A $2 million donation, matched by the Government of Canada, to the Brain Canada Foundation for the Bell Let's Talk-Brain Canada Mental Health Research Program to accelerate Canadian brain research

  • $1 million in grants from the Bell Let's Talk Diversity Fund to 8 organizations supporting the mental health and well-being of Black, Indigenous and People of Colour (BIPOC) communities in Canada

  • A $500,000 donation to Jack.org to expand the reach of Jack Chapters in hundreds of communities around the country and support youth mental health

  • A $420,000 donation to the QEII Foundation in Halifax to support new repetitive Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (rTMS) clinics at the Nova Scotia Hospital and Valley Regional Hospital

  • A $300,000 donation to CHU Sainte-Justine Foundation's intensive ambulatory care program for teenage patients being treated for an eating disorder

As part of this year's campaign, Bell Let's Talk also partnered with United Way/Centraide Canada to provide 11,000 mobile devices and SIM cards to charitable organizations to help those in the greatest need stay connected.

Support for BIPOC communities
In addition to the Bell Let's Talk Diversity Fund grants announced in January, Bell Let's Talk presented two webinars, hosted in English by Queen's University and in French by McGill University and Montréal's Jewish General Hospital, featuring discussions about mental health in diverse communities. More than 1,300 participants took part.

McGill, The Neuro (Montréal Neurological Institute-Hospital) and the Lady Davis Institute at the Jewish General also launched the Multicultural Mental Health Resource Centre to help support mental health and COVID-19 in diverse communities.

The Bell Let's Talk Community Fund
The $2 million Bell Let's Talk Community Fund, which supports local mental health charities throughout Canada, is now also open for applications. Registered charities are invited to apply for a grant of up to $25,000. Since 2011, the Bell Let's Talk Community Fund has supported almost 800 local and grassroots mental health organizations all across the country. To apply for funding, please visit Bell.ca/LetsTalk.

Bell Media specials about mental health
In This Together: A Bell Let's Talk Day Special, hosted by Etalk's Tyrone Edwards and The Social's Melissa Grelo, aired in primetime last night on CTV, CTV2 and Crave and is now available on CTV.ca, the CTV app and on Crave where viewers can also watch previous Bell Let's Talk Day specials. The special will re-air on Saturday, January 30 at 8pm ET/PT on CTV.

The French-language documentary La santé mentale : une note à la fois, following the stories of musicians Steve Veilleux, Laurence Jalbert and Safia Nolin, and featuring slam poet David Goudreault, aired on Canal D, Canal Vie and VRAK. The documentary is now available at Noovo.ca, vrak.tv, Crave, CanalVie.com and CanalD.com.

To learn more about Bell Let's Talk, please visit Bell.ca/LetsTalk.

Media inquiries:
Jacqueline Michelis
613-785-1427
jacqueline.michelis@bell.ca
@Bell_LetsTalk
@Bell_News