Joint Statement on Bell Let’s Talk Day


January 31, 2018 – Ottawa – National Defence / Veterans Affairs Canada

Defence Minister Harjit S. Sajjan and Minister of Veterans Affairs and Associate Minister of National Defence Seamus O’Regan issued the following statement for Bell Let’s Talk Day:

“Our Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) personnel and Veterans have put the safety and wellbeing of others before their own in many circumstances. From Bosnia to Afghanistan, Haiti and the Philippines, they have always risen to the challenge in the face of uncertainty.

“Sometimes, the stigma associated with mental health is a barrier to seeking help. The Department of National Defence (DND), the CAF, and Veterans Affairs Canada (VAC) are working hard to break down this barrier by encouraging open and honest discussions around mental illness, including on Bell Let’s Talk Day. We are strengthening mental health services and support for the military community, including serving CAF personnel, Veterans, and their families.

“Responsibility to each other must not end when the uniform comes off. For some, this is where the struggle begins. I encourage all CAF members and Veterans to check in with one another often. This connection with shared experience can make an incredible difference in the lives of those struggling with mental health issues and operational stress injuries. You are never alone.

“It isn’t always easy to tell when help is needed. Talking to someone can make a difference. And sometimes, just listening can mean the world to someone who is struggling. If you or someone you know needs help, please ask for it. No one should suffer in silence. We are here to listen. We are here to help. Join the conversation to help change the stigma around mental health.”


Quick Facts

  • Since the release of Canada’s new Defence Policy, Strong, Secure, Engaged, in June 2017, we have continued to expand on mental health initiatives. Participation in research forums and symposiums such as Warrior Care in the 21st Century in September ensures that we find the best approaches going forward to awareness, prevention, and treatment for military personnel and Veterans. The Road to Mental Readiness (R2MR) mobile application launched in October enables CAF personnel and their families to apply mental wellness skills to real-life situations.
  • The CAF-VAC Joint Suicide Prevention Strategy also unveiled in October presents a holistic approach to suicide prevention. Going forward, the CAF Total Health and Wellness Strategy will expand wellness beyond the traditional health care model. VAC’s well-being programs support Veterans in all areas of life where stress can cause mental health problems and suicidal thoughts, complementing supports provided by Canada’s public and private sectors.
  • As announced in Budget 2017, VAC is investing $17.5 million over four years, and then $9.2 million per year ongoing to establish a Centre of Excellence on post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and related mental health conditions. The new Centre will be responsible for the creation and dissemination of knowledge on the prevention, assessment, and treatment of PTSD and related mental health conditions in Veterans and affected CAF personnel.
  • Today, for every text message, mobile and long distance call made by Bell Canada, Bell Aliant, and Bell MTS customers, every tweet using #BellLetsTalk, use of the Bell Let’s Talk Facebook frame and Snapchat filter, and every view of the Bell Let’s Talk Day video on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook and Snapchat, Bell will donate five cents to support Canadian mental health programs.

Additional Information

  • If you or someone you know requires emergency mental health assistance, please seek help through your health care provider, your local emergency department, or call 911. Help is also available to military personnel at the nearest CAF health clinic or civilian emergency health care centre, or by calling the Canadian Armed Forces Member Assistance Program or the VAC Assistance Service at 1-800-268-7708 (open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year).
  • The VAC-DND Operational Stress Injury Social Support (OSISS) program provides peer-based support to those suffering with operational stress injuries and for the families who have lived with those suffering from an operational stress injury. The program employs full time Peer Support and Family Peer Support Coordinators, and also has a well-developed volunteer training and mentoring program.
  • In collaboration with provincial partners, VAC has invested in a network of 11 Operational Stress Injury (OSI) Clinics. These clinics are complemented by the CAF network of seven Operational Trauma and Stress Support Centres (OTSSC) that primarily support serving military personnel.

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Minister of National Defence Video Message for Bell Let’s Talk Day


Byrne Furlong
Press Secretary
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Office of the Minister of Veterans Affairs

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