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UOIT, Durham support Bell Let’s Talk

Athletes from UOIT and Durham College will support Bell Let’s Talk this year. Both schools are hosting games in recognition of the national mental health awareness campaign over the next week. (Photo submitted)

Bell Let’s Talk today announced the expansion of its national university mental health campaign to 128 campuses nationwide, including Durham College and UOIT, representing a student population of more than a million.

As part of the Bell Let’s Talk campaign, the Durham Lords are hosting Make Some Noise for Mental Health night on Wednesday, Jan. 24 during their basketball doubleheader. Fans are encouraged to bring pots and pans to “make some noise for mental health” and support the Bell Let’s Talk movement in raising awareness about mental health. Tip off is scheduled for 6 p.m. at the Campus Recreation and Wellness Centre against the Loyalist Lancers.

As well, the UOIT Ridgebacks have named their Saturday, Jan. 27 men’s hockey game as their Bell Let’s Talk game. Puck drop is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. against the Concordia Stingers.

Moving into the broader campus community, the campaign builds on the success of 2017’s university initiative when more than 20,000 student-athletes from 53 universities led the campus mental health conversation at more than 100 university sports events leading up to Bell Let’s Talk Day.

“The student-athlete initiative clearly showed that mental health is a priority for students on Canadian campuses. This year, we’re building on that momentum as we expand the conversation to 128 universities and colleges throughout the country,” said Mary Deacon, Chair of Bell Let’s Talk. “On January 31, we encourage all students around the country to join in, share their own stories and help fight the stigma around mental illness.”

“The members of CACUSS are committed to open dialogue about mental health initiatives for our students, faculty and staff,” said Jennifer Hamilton, Executive Director of the Canadian Association of College and University Student Services (CACUSS). “We recognize the importance of reducing stigma and promoting healthy campuses and communities. Bell Let’s Talk is a great vehicle for expanding and encouraging conversations about our mental health on campus.”

As a national day to spark the conversation about mental health, Bell Let’s Talk Day can help student services departments showcase various mental health programs already offered on campus, while also helping schools achieve their own mental health goals. More than 150 on-campus conferences and other events are planned already, including participation by student-athletes who are helping spread the conversation again this year at more than 100 varsity and collegiate games leading up to Bell Let’s Talk Day.

“Being able to spread awareness about mental health is something that the OUA is proud to support,” said Gord Grace, CEO of Ontario University Athletics. “Mental health is a topic that needs to be discussed, and being able to have our student-athletes, coaches, and leadership go beyond the playing field to help bring this conversation to the forefront is a powerful step that we are hopeful can spark positive change in our schools and wider communities.”

We invite everyone to join the mental health conversation on Bell Let’s Talk Day. Bell will donate 5 cents to Canadian mental health programs for each of these interactions on Jan. 31, at no extra cost to participants:

Text and talk: Every text message, mobile and long distance call made by Bell Canada, Bell Aliant and Bell MTS customers

Twitter: Every tweet using #BellLetsTalk and Bell Let’s Talk Day video view

Facebook: Every view of the Bell Let’s Talk Day video at Facebook.com/BellLetsTalk and use of the Bell Let’s Talk frame

Instagram: Every Bell Let’s Talk Day video view

Snapchat: Every use of the Bell Let’s Talk filter and video view

Bell Let’s Talk Day 2017 set all new records with 131,705,010 messages, growing Bell’s funding for Canadian mental health by $6,585,250.50. #BellLetsTalk was Canada’s top hashtag in 2017, and is now the most used Twitter hashtag ever in Canada.