'Reach out to your friends': What celebrities are saying and doing for Bell Let's Talk

By Heather Cichowski

Most people are active on social media and their phones, but on Jan. 29, Bell had a very important reason to send those messages. As part of the Bell Let's Talk initiative, the company will donate 5 cents to mental health initiatives in Canada for every "applicable text, call, tweet and retweet, social media video view and use of [their] Facebook frame or Snapchat filter."

The goal is to help shatter the stigma surrounding mental health. And Canadian celebrities and political figures came out en masse to do their part to promote the cause across Twitter, Snapchat, Instagram, Facebook and more.

Prince Harry and Duchess Meghan are no strangers to supporting mental health awareness, with the Duke of Sussex opening up about his own mental wellness many times. The couple, who are now both in Canada after stepping down from their senior royal roles, eagerly took to their Sussex Royal Instagram account to promote the #BellLetsTalk campaign on Jan. 29.

"We are so happy to be supporting Bell's mental health campaign," they wrote in their Instagram stories, sharing heartwarming photos of people carrying quotes about how to support mental health. They also encouraged their followers to use the hashtag to contribute to the cause.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau also shared his support.

"It’s the 10th year of #BellLetsTalk and, while we’ve come a long way from where the conversation on mental health started, there’s still more work to do to end stigma and make sure Canadians can get the support they need," he wrote. "So let’s keep talking, Canada!"

It’s the 10th year of #BellLetsTalk and, while we’ve come a long way from where the conversation on mental health started, there’s still more work to do to end stigma & make sure Canadians can get the support they need. So let’s keep talking, Canada!

— Justin Trudeau (@JustinTrudeau) January 29, 2020

MORE: Prince William voices soccer-themed ad for Heads Up mental health campaign

Marilyn Denis used her Instagram to talk about how the smallest gestures can have the most impact on the lives of others. She also stressed the importance of listening and being non-judgemental.

British-Canadian TV personality Debbie Travis shared a personal message about how she and Marilyn discussed loneliness over dinner and what an "epidemic" it is across generations.

"Think of those who are alone over the weekend and include them with your friends and family," she encouraged on Instagram. "Maybe ask them to join you on a walk or a meal or even a game of scrabble."

View this post on Instagram

I want to thank @marilyndenis this morning for her shout out about mental health. We had dinner together a few days ago and talked about this and loneliness which is now epidemic - not just with the older generation but all of us, the young ones too. And loneliness has many faces and it will surprise you who is suffering. Loneliness is terrible for our mental and physical health. One of the worst aspects is weekend loneliness. It is known as the ‘weekend tunnel’. People who dread the end of the work week as their colleagues head off to their families and they go to an empty home. One woman told me that often the only person she would speak to was the lady at the cash in the supermarket until she was back in the office on Monday morning. As Marilyn said reach out but also think of those who are alone over the weekend and include them with your friends and family. Maybe ask them to join you on a walk or a meal or even a game of scrabble. We all watch other people’s lives through social media and think how fab everyone else is. But social media specializes in adding a shine, a buff to the everyday. We don’t show the crappy times and believe me we ALL have them. So please reach out Start with this weekend and ask someone you know is alone to join you. You will feel great and so will they. “Hey we are having a pizza night. Fancy joining us”. It is that easy. #mentalhealth #lonliness #helpeachother

A post shared by Debbie Travis/entrepreneur (@debbie_travis) on

On Twitter, singer-songwriter Jann Arden encouraged people to "reach out to your friends old and new."

Canadian superstar Céline Dion shared a message in English and French on Twitter about participating in the conversation and the number of ways people can get help.

We all know the adage "sticks and stones may break my bones, but words can never hurt me" isn't true. Bullying can take a toll on mental health, and sometimes the language used when people open up or seek help can also get in the way of their accessing care and can perpetuate stigma. So William Shatner took to Twitter to share suggestions about the kind of language to use when discussing mental health.

Elaine Lui of Lainey Gossip shared a quote from Suga from BTS and described her self-care routine for Bell Let's Talk 2020.

Canadian television host Ben Mulroney opened up about his work/life balance, which is one of the Bell Let's Talk pillars, in an Instagram video.

"It doesn't matter who you are, how old you are, where you live, what you do for a living, it's important every now and then to check in with ourselves and make sure we're alright," he said.

Olympian and WNBA player Kia Nurse got active on Twitter and encouraged others to take to social media to break the stigma surrounding mental health.

The Bell Let's Talk campaign focuses on four different pillars: anti-stigma, research, care and access and workplace health.

According to the Let's Talk website, Bell’s total donation to mental health programs is now over $100 million. The numbers for people involved are equally impressive, with a whopping 1,013,915,275 total interactions.

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