Yesterday was #BellLet’sTalk day. The day when we all spit out messages about mental health awareness and Bell makes a big donation to support research, programs and services.
Bell started the initiative back in 2010. @Mary Deacon, a long time mental health advocate, was hired to create a plan to contribute $50 million over five years. @Clara Hughes, Canada’s only dual-season athlete got behind the program early on and has been one of the main spokespersons for the program.
As of 2019, Bell’s contribution had been over $100 million. This is huge. It is a main source of funding for many programs across Canada.
Bell has a graph on their website that shows the increase in the number of interactions that generate the funds. It has gone from 66 million to 145 million. (https://letstalk.bell.ca/en/results-impact/2019/ontario/#funds) That’s a lot of tweets!
I am very, very happy to see this growth in awareness and people’s willingness to be vocal about their support for the need for increased mental health resources.
But it is not enough. Awareness does not help someone with mental illness get or keep a job. That’s where we still need a lot of help.
We still have enormous difficulty providing accommodations for people who think or work differently and this is so ironic because today’s current buzzwords are diversity and inclusion.
I really hoped that the adoption of flexible workplaces and working remotely would start to create space for people who don’t function well until after 11am or people whose moods go up and down. This just does not seem to the case and it’s really disappointing.
The stats on Bell’s website say that 1 in 5 Canadians will suffer from some kind of mental illness during their work life. That’s an awful lot of people – shouldn’t we be thinking about more than just awareness?