Bell Let’s Talk: The 5 simple ways to help fight the stigma around mental illness

Montréal, Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Bell Let’s Talk: The 5 simple ways to help fight the stigma around mental illness

  • Developed with Dr. Heather Stuart of Queen’s University, the world’s first chair in anti-stigma research
  • We can all help end the stigma and build support for those who struggle with mental illness
  • To learn more, please visit

The 2015 Bell Let’s Talk Day campaign invites all Canadians to learn about 5 ways we can all help fight the stigma around mental illness. Developed in partnership with Dr. Heather Stuart, the Bell Canada Mental Health and Anti-stigma Research Chair at Queen’s University, the 5 ways combat the stigma that keeps too many who struggle with mental illness from seeking the help they need.

One in 5 Canadians will experience a mental illness, yet 2 in 3 of those who struggle will not seek treatment options for fear of judgment or rejection. They may not tell anyone at all that they have a problem because of the stigma.

“If you were diagnosed with a serious physical illness, you’d expect and almost certainly get emotional and social support from people around you – not the silence, gossip, jokes or discrimination often faced by people with a mental illness,” said Dr. Stuart, an internationally renowned professor of community health and epidemiology. “That stigma is the reality for many Canadians who struggle, but we can all help provide necessary support to family, friends and colleagues by keeping a few straightforward approaches in mind.”

These 5 ways to communicate about mental illness show your support and can help those who struggle overcome their concerns about seeking help:

  • Language matters – pay attention to the words you use about mental illness
  • Educate yourself – learn, know and talk more, understand the signs
  • Be kind – small acts of kindness speak a lot
  • Listen and ask – sometimes it’s best to just listen
  • Talk about it – start a dialogue, break the silence

“We thank Dr. Stuart for her important work in anti-stigma research and for her guidance in developing approaches we can all employ to help break down the stigma,” said Mary Deacon, Chair of Bell Let’s Talk. “It’s an effort supported by leaders like Clara Hughes who speak openly about their own experiences, sharing stories with others who’ve struggled and taking the message of hope to everyone.”

The Bell Mental Health and Anti-Stigma Research Chair

Established in 2012 with a $1 million grant from Bell Let’s Talk, the Bell Mental Health and Anti-Stigma Research Chair at Queen’s University is the first research chair in the world dedicated to the fight against the stigma around mental illness.

Current chair holder Dr. Stuart works to increase awareness and understanding of stigma,develops and disseminates best practices in stigma reduction, and engages in applied research collaborations with world leaders in mental health.

Researchers at Queen's are at the forefront of developing best practices in the field of antistigma,including the unique approaches undertaken through the Opening Minds program of the Mental Health Commission of Canada and a leadership role in the World Psychiatric Association's Global Anti-Stigma Program.

Everyone can 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, 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

About Bell

Bell is Canada's largest communications company, providing consumers and business customers with wireless, TV, Internet, home phone and business communications services. Bell Media is Canada's premier multimedia company with leading assets in television, radio and digital media. Bell is wholly owned by Montréal's BCE Inc. (TSX, NYSE: BCE). For more information, please visit

Media inquiries:

Jacqueline Michelis Bell Media Relations (613)785-1427 @Bell_News