#CAFLetsTalk – How members of the Defence Team can take part in Bell Let’s Talk Day

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We have expert health care in our military and in our country. But it is critical that military personnel, Department of National Defence (DND) employees, and Canadians recognize mental health issues as they develop, and talk about them with openness and understanding.

Bell Let’s Talk Day is an annual campaign dedicated to creating a Canada free from the stigma that surrounds mental illness. This year, January 31 marks the eighth year for the campaign and the fifth year the Department of National Defence and the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) have been active partners in the campaign.

All CAF members and Defence Team employees are encouraged to take part in the day by talking, texting, and tweeting about mental health. On January 31, 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.

Commanders and Defence Team leaders are also encouraged to plan local activities to generate open discussions about mental health. Leaders at all levels can take visible measures to combat stigma, encourage prevention and education programs, to openly talk about mental health in the workplace, seek ways to improve mental health among their personnel, and work closely with the medical community to support those in need.

Here are some ideas on how you can encourage active participation of Bell Let’s Talk Day:

  • Watch the CAF mental health stigma video followed by group discussion
  • Invite a local mental health professional to provide a briefing to your team
  • Send an e-mail to your staff encouraging them to take the time to participate in Bell Let’s Talk Day on social media
  • Hold a Mental Health Town hall including presentations from the Base Command Team, a guest speaker, invite members to share their stories, etc.
  • Hold an informal coffee discussion with your unit
  • Include an article on mental health in your January/February base newsletter

Find more Mental Health Resources to inform your discussions on the Defence Team Intranet.

Canada’s new Defence Policy, Strong, Secure, Engaged, released in June 2017, ensures that our people in uniform are well-supported and resilient – physically, psychologically, and spiritually. Since the release of the policy, DND and the CAF have continued to expand on mental health initiatives. CAF participation in research forums and symposiums such as Warrior Care in September ensures that we find the best approaches going forward to awareness, prevention, and treatment for military personnel. The Road to Mental Readiness (R2MR) mobile application launched in October enables CAF members and their families to apply mental wellness skills to real-life situations. The CAF-Veterans Affairs Canada Joint Suicide Prevention Strategy also unveiled in October presents a holistic approach to suicide prevention. Going forward, the Total Health and Wellness Strategy will expand wellness beyond the traditional health care model.

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