The Defence Team talked, and listened, on Bell Let’s Talk Day
February 5, 2021 - Defence Stories
This year on Bell Let’s Talk Day, military and civilian Defence Team members joined together virtually to engage in a number of Bell Let’s Talk events aimed at encouraging open conversations about mental health across the nation.
Now in its 11th year, the campaign is dedicated to creating a Canada free from the stigma that surrounds mental illness by building awareness and raising funds for mental health services and programs. This year’s campaign helped raise over $7.9 million in donations from Bell towards mental health initiatives in Canada and set a new single-day record with 154,387,425 messages of support across the various participating social platforms.
“The other great thing about today is a simple invitation: Let's talk. And I would add to that: Let's listen. We need to hear people. We need to absorb what they're saying so that we can reach out and help. It's an invitation to really find out and ask one another how we're holding up. There's no substitute for that kind of engagement, especially this year,” said Deputy Minister and Mental Health Co-Champion, Jody Thomas, during a virtual panel event on Bell Let’s Talk Day.
Given the stress, uncertainty and - for many of us - increased social isolation that COVID-19 has added to our lives, talking openly about how we feel with our friends, family, and colleagues, is more important than ever.
On Bell Let’s Talk Day, a series of messages, discussions, and interviews with senior leaders and mental health experts were shared with Defence Team members and posted on social media platforms throughout the day. In case you missed them, check out these features to hear about what Defence is doing to improve workplace wellbeing, tips on how to build resilience and keep our mental health in check, and where to turn if you need help:
- Strengthening our resilience: Bell Let's Talk Day virtual panel discussion (video)
- Bell Let’s Talk Day: A message from your Defence Team Mental Health co-Champions
- 60 Seconds with Jerry Ryan, employee co-champion for mental health (video)
- Surgeon General’s message for Bell Let’s Talk 2021 (video)
- Minister of National Defence video message for Bell Let's Talk 2021 (video)
Having open dialogue about mental health issues reduces stigma and makes it easier for people struggling with their mental health to open up about their problems-opening up is often the first step to finding resources that can help.
Left is Lt(N) Greg Hutchings (Engineering Officer - MSE) and on the right is Cdr Christopher Rochon (Commanding Officer, HMCS Halifax). Photo taken during their Bell Let’s Talk event they had on the flight deck while alongside Wilhelmshaven, Germany
“The more we talk about [mental health], the more people will be able to open up. This has an effect that must never be underestimated and it is important,” as Chief Warrant Officer, Martin Colbert, states.
While a lot of progress has been made over the years in eliminating the stigma that surrounds mental illness, there is still work to be done. Defence Team members are encouraged to continue the conversation about mental health in and out of the workplace throughout the year, and remember:
Mental health resources are in place for Defence Team members and their families. If you or someone you know needs help, please reach out to Employee Assistance Program or the Canadian Forces Members Assistance Program at 1-800-268-7708.
Did You Know? Beginning January 1, 2021, personnel aboard the HMCS HALIFAX have been in a COVID-free bubble that has been shielded from the outside world. As a result, they are not required to wear masks while on board.
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