I love the idea behind Bell’s Let’s Talk Day, but I’m starting to fear it’s turning into something it should never be.
Over the past few years, Bell has become hugely involved in mental health initiatives in Canada. The idea behind Let’s Talk Day is to get people talking about mental health and mental illness. I’m a huge supporter of this idea. We should all be more open to discussing our own mental health, and the world would be a much better place if we were all more comfortable with the issues surrounding mental illness. I don’t think many people would argue against the idea that we need to talk about these topics.
Let’s Talk Day offers us an incentive for talking. On Tuesday, January 28th, for every text sent or long distance call made on the Bell network, and for every tweet with the hashtag #BellLetsTalk or Facebook share of a photo, Bell will donate 5 cents to mental health initiatives. I think this is amazing. (For the record, this isn’t money that Bell would be donating anyway- it’s a donation above and beyond the amount they’ve already pledged to donate annually.)
I see Bell Let’s Talk Day as an opportunity to open up the conversation about mental health, Canada-wide. But I fear that other people are viewing it solely as a mechanism to raise money. I don’t believe this was the original intent, the purpose, or the way it should be, at all. It’s called #BellLetsTalk, not #BellLetsRaiseMoney, for a reason.
I’ve seen people warning their friends that they’re going to text them every single letter of the alphabet on Tuesday. I guarantee they’ll be lots of tweets saying “Hey guys! It’s #BellLetsTalk day! This tweet just raised five cents!”
Quantity vs. quality, guys. No matter how much money we throw at the issues of mental health in Canada, money won’t solve all the problems. We need awareness. We need understanding. We need to talk.
On Bell’s Let’s Talk Day, there will be a lot of tweets from me. I’ll be sharing facts about mental health and mental illness. I’ll be tweeting relevant videos and articles that I’ve come across. I’ll share organizations that are fighting every day for a better world. I won’t be doing this so that I help raise money. I’ll be doing it so other people can better understand mental health, can know how to get involved, and can know how to help.
On Bell’s Let’s Talk Day, you can bet I’m going to talk. And the day after Bell’s Let’s Talk Day, you can bet I’m going to keep talking. And the day after that, and the week, after that, and the month after that. Because change doesn’t happen in just a day.
So. Instead of spending Let’s Talk Day talking about Let’s Talk Day, let’s spend it talking about mental health and mental illness. Don’t worry about the money- just talk. And keep talking even when Let’s Talk Day is over. Because really, that’s the only way anything is ever going to change.
How do you feel about #BellLetsTalk day? Are you going to be participating? What mental health related articles/videos/organizations would you share?