You knew Clara Hughes as the Canadian girl with the stunning smile who brought us home six Olympic medals in her sports of speed skating and cycling. Thanks to the Bell Media publicity campaign that’s been everywhere lately, you now also know her as a young woman who was diagnosed with depression. It’s not rare. One in five of us will experience a mental illness before we’re done. The rest of us will love someone, work with someone or hang out with someone who experiences mental illness. That means mental health affects every single one of us.
Bell Media claims to pour more cash into mental health promotion than any other Canadian corporation. Their campaign is “Let’s Talk,” and it’s about getting the topic out into the open because it’s normally so hidden – which is, of course, half the problem. According to Bell, two out of three people hide their psychiatric status because they’re afraid of what other people will think. A third don’t get medical help. Want to make a difference? Open your mind, and open your heart – and if you’re someone with firsthand experience, open your mouth.
Tomorrow, a plethora of Bell Media-owned TV stations will broadcast documentaries, talk shows and panels on the theme of mental illness. You’ll see familiar faces talking about it, like former hockey player Stephan Richer and singer/songwriter Chantal Kreviazuk (LOVE her! Interviewed her for a magazine feature and she was dazzling, even over the phone).
You can do good just by tuning in to these TV shows and learning. And if you happen to subscribe to any of Bell’s phone services, every long distance call you make or text message you send tomorrow will earn five cents for mental health initiatives. So will a retweet (@Bell_LetsTalk).
I happen to be a Bell customer. So maybe I’ll call my mom tomorrow and say hi. It’s always good for my mental health, and hers. And tomorrow, it’ll be another nickel for someone else’s.