Let’s Talk About Bell Let’s Talk Day

Originally published at findinghealthwellness.com on January 31, 2018.

Photo by Yuris Alhumaydy on Unsplash

How Bell Let’s Talk Day works

On Bell Let’s Talk Day, Bell donates money towards mental health initiatives in Canada by contributing 5¢ for every applicable text (sent by Bell customers), call (also sent by Bell customers), tweet, social media video view and use of their Facebook frame or Snapchat filter. Every interaction counts, so you can combine these methods — or send several texts if you’re a Bell customer — and each will be worth 5¢.

Let’s Talk: The Good

$86,504,429.05 is a lot of money. As a concept for social media awareness, it’s FANTASTIC. People are talking about mental health. Any time people share their own stories, others realize that they’re not alone. Every time we raise awareness, we have the opportunity to reduce the stigma. I myself discuss my mental health issues in part because I want others to know that they’re not alone and to see that if others are talking about it, they can too.

Let’s Talk: The Bad and the Ugly

Every year on Bell Let’s Talk Day I read stories on Facebook and news sites about Bell and its subsidiaries disregarding employees’ mental health. Employees and former employees come forward with their experiences. I read about how their jobs negatively affect their mental health and send them on stress leave. I read stories such as this one, in which a former Business News Network employee discussed the mistreatment of contract workers (more on this below) and this one, about a radio host who alleges that she was fired because of her mental health issues or this one called “Let’s Talk About How Bell Fired Me After I Asked For Mental-Health Leave”. This article in the CBC, Bell’s ‘Let’s Talk’ campaign rings hollow for employees suffering panic attacks, vomiting, and anxiety, describes toxic environments. Even if it’s not common, no one should have these experiences.

Let’s Talk about what I think

We need to talk about mental health year-round. Mental health awareness isn’t a one-day “holiday,” especially to those dealing with mental and brain health issues. Reducing it to a one day “hashtag holiday” puts it in association with “National Taco Day.” January 31 is also “National Hot Chocolate Day”. It’s not absolutely comparable, but the comparison is one day, hashtag.

Corporate advocacy for mental health is only valuable if each and every employee is treated with the respect and dignity that they deserve.

Corporate advocacy for mental health is only valuable if each and every employee is treated with the respect and dignity that they deserve.

Will I support Bell Let’s Talk Day?

Sure. When I finish this post, I’ll tweet it out with the hashtag #BellLetsTalk. I’ll also retweet other tweets, positive and neutral. The more the hashtag appears, the more people are reminded of mental health — at least for today. The more we share our stories, the more we feel heard, less alone, less stigmatized, more hopeful. [Emphasis added in the updated version of this post.]

Digital Marketing Manager | Freelance Writer | ADHD Coach for adults | Available for hire. http://andreawrites.ca.

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