Bell Let’s Talk Day 2022: The Defence Team focused on listening, talking, and being there for ourselves and each other

February 2, 2022 - Defence Stories

Bell Let's Talk Day

On January 26, 2022, the Defence Team joined the conversation for the 12th annual Bell Let’s Talk Day (accessible only on the National Defence network) by hosting a panel discussion focused on listening, talking, and being there for ourselves and each other.

Military and civilian Defence Team members tuned in virtually for a meaningful conversation about mental health with departmental leaders, mental health experts, and members of the Defence Team who engaged in a discussion around mental health and the stigma attached to mental illness. The panelists shared personal stories of struggle with mental illness and answered questions submitted by Defence Team members, themselves.

Mental Health co-Champion, Deputy Minister Bill Matthews, discussed how the pandemic has impacted each Defence Team member differently:

“COVID-19 continues to weigh heavily on people, and it's impacting us all in different ways. We have members who are dealing with kids being home-schooled or caring for parents, on top of the heavy workload we're all carrying. We have to be more creative in how we check in and look after one another. It's about finding new and different ways to keep the connection and the conversation going.”

Mental Health co-Champion, Vice Chief of the Defence Staff, Lieutenant-General Frances Allen, discussed a shift within the Defence Team towards a mental health space that is more inclusive, and better able to adapt in a diverse workforce:

“I would say that while there has been a shift, there is still more to do. We are now talking about mental health in different ways, and also creating more avenues to allow for those conversations. I see this as an indicator that we are, as a Defence Team, as a community, committed to engaging in open and meaningful dialogue around mental health.”

Surgeon General of the CAF, Major-General Marc Bilodeau, discussed what we can do to reduce the stigma around mental health and obstacles to accessing proper care:

“It starts with caring leadership. It starts with leadership that sets an example, that creates a healthy and safe environment, where people feel legitimate and enabled to share their experience, therefore encouraging their teammates to reach out for help. So, it's by encouraging dialogue, ultimately. And that's what the Bell Let's Talk campaign is trying to do of course.”

This year’s campaign generated over $8.2 million in donations from Bell towards Canadian mental health initiatives, and while Bell Let's Talk Day only lasts a day, members of the Defence Team are encouraged to continue to be part of the conversation throughout the year to break down the barriers surrounding mental health and keep being there for ourselves and each other.

If you or someone you know needs help, reach out now, help is always available for you and your families.

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