Bell Let’s Talk Day: Our Commitment to Mental Health ChangeJan 11, 2024
The Bell Let’s Talk initiative began in 2010 with the goal of starting a conversation about mental health and mental illness in Canada. Since then, the initiative has become the largest corporate commitment to mental health in Canada, with over one hundred million dollars in donations. This incredible accomplishment helps demonstrate how important the conversation about mental health is to so many Canadians. But there’s still a lot of work to do.
Let’s Change This
Canada continues to face a mental health crisis. Millions of people worldwide live with mental illnesses that have huge economic and personal costs. In Canada alone, mental illness affects more than 6.7 million people and prevents 500,00 employees from going to work each day1.
1 in 2 people struggling with their mental health aren’t getting the help they need.
1 in 4 Canadians have been experiencing high levels of anxiety.
More than 200 Canadians will attempt suicide everyday; 12 will die.
The number of opioid overdose deaths in Canada went up more than 90% during the pandemic. It’s now 20 per day.
Bell Let’s Talk
The stigma around mental health remains a major barrier to progress on the issue, as is education and awareness. Until we can finally end the stigma and educate our communities on mental health, we will struggle to identify those in need of support who feel the necessary channels to recovery may not exist. Talking to one another about how we feel and sharing our own struggles and experiences is a great start.
Bell Let’s Talk aims to address barriers by promoting awareness, acceptance, and action about mental health with a four-pillar strategy.
- Anti-stigma: a movement to get rid of the negative stigma surrounding mental illness through education, awareness and understanding, allowing all to feel capable of speaking freely and shame-free about their mental health conditions.
- Care and access: supporting care and access for a variety of organizations to care for mental health needs, including agencies, hospitals, and universities.
- Research: promotion and involvement of research around mental health and illnesses to better understand signs, symptoms, treatments, and cures.
- Workplace leadership: improving mental health in the workplace and encouraging greater corporate engagement as 1 in 3 workplace disability claims in Canada are related to mental illnesses.
Actions You Can Take
Bell Let's Talk calls for everyone to play a part in making meaningful change in workplaces, homes, schools, and communities. Here are some of the actions you can take2:
- Choose a mental health organization to learn about or support
- Help a friend struggling with their mental health by learning how to support them
- Ask about how your school, workplace or community is creating change for mental health
- Nurture your own well-being by practicing and learning mental health strategies
- Get involved in a mental health initiative or organize an event to support mental health
- Engage in conversations about mental health to fight stigma
Gowan Consulting’s Commitment to Mental Health Change
We are joining in and committing to take meaningful action to create positive change, in our workplace and in yours. We are committed to fostering a work environment that prioritizes mental well-being and provides the necessary resources for our employees and clients. Our team at Gowan Consulting has been actively engaged in various mental health initiatives, including:
- Providing mental health benefits and an Employee Assistance Program (EAP) through Dialogue.
- Conducting regular touchpoints to reduce isolation.
- Hosting morning mindfulness sessions twice a week.
- Organizing team building trivia activities.
- Offering mental health training to our management team.
- Granting access to mental health resources developed by our Occupational Therapists (OTs).
- Encouraging ongoing feedback and dialogue regarding our work practices and opportunities to support mental health.
In addition to supporting our own team, we have also taken steps to ensure that your team has access to essential mental health resources, psychotherapy support for employees, manager and employee mental health training, workplace accommodations for mental health, and mental health reactivation programs for personalized support.
Furthermore, as part of our commitment to the broader community, in 2023 we contributed to mental health causes, including a $5,000 donation to the Canadian Association for Suicide Prevention and $2,500 fundraised for the CAMH Womenmind fund.
This year, Gowan will donate $20 from every referral received in February to CAMH to advance mental health research and resources.
I encourage you to join the conversation and reflect on the actions you are taking to support your own mental health and that of those around you. Together, we can create a culture of openness and support for mental well-being.
How Can Gowan Consulting Help?
- We are pleased to share our mental health resources page for you to use and share with your friends, family, and colleagues.
- Are you a manager trying to build your skills in supporting employees with mental distress? Learn more about our customized training session options for your team.
- Make a referral or contact us to learn more about we can support the mental health needs of your organization. We can provide mental health training or refer your employees to Occupational Therapists who can help.
 The Centre for Addiction and Mental Health. (n.d.) Mental illness and addiction: Facts and statistics. CAMH. https://www.camh.ca/en/driving-change/the-crisis-is-real/mental-health-statistics
 Bell Canada. (2023). Learn how our projects create a positive change. Bell Let’s Talk. https://letstalk.bell.ca/