The Defence Team talks about mental health: be a part of Bell Let’s Talk Day

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Defence Team members, military and civilian alike, need to have the knowledge to recognize mental health issues as they develop, and be able to talk about them with openness and understanding if need be.

The annual Bell Let’s Talk Day (internal link) campaign is dedicated to creating a Canada free from the stigma that surrounds mental illness. This year marks the ninth year for the campaign and the sixth year National Defence serves as an active partner.

Defence Team members are encouraged to take part in the day by talking, texting, and tweeting about mental health. On January 30, for every text message, mobile, and long distance call made by customers of Bell Canada, Bell Aliant, and Bell MTS, every tweet using the hashtag #BellLetsTalk, use of the Bell Let’s Talk Facebook and Snapchat filters, 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.

Defence Team leaders are also encouraged to plan local activities to generate open discussions about mental health. Leaders at all levels can take measures to combat stigma, by encouraging prevention and education programs, and openly talking about mental health in the workplace. They can 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 in Bell Let’s Talk Day:

  • Watch the mental health stigma video (internal link) with your team and follow-up with a group discussion;
  • Invite a local mental health professional to provide a briefing to your team;
  • Send an email 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, with presentations from the Base Command Team and a guest speaker; invite members to share their stories, etc.;
  • Hold an informal coffee discussion with your unit or team;
  • Include an article on mental health in your January / February base newsletter; and
  • Use the Bell Let’s Talk Conversation Guide to have a facilitated discussion or workshop with your unit.

Additional military and civilian mental health resources to inform your discussions can be found on the mental health services Intranet page. (internal link)

Canada’s Defence Policy, Strong, Secure, Engaged (SSE), ensures that our people in uniform are well-supported and resilient – physically, psychologically, and spiritually. Since the release of this policy, the Department of National Defence (DND) and the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) have continued to expand on mental health initiatives.

CAF participation in research forums and symposiums, such as Warrior Care and the Canadian Institute for Military and Veteran Health Research, ensures that we find the best approaches to awareness, prevention and treatment for military personnel. The Road to Mental Readiness (R2MR) mobile application enables CAF members and their families to apply mental wellness skills to real-life situations, while the Employee Assistance Program (internal link) helps civilian employees and their immediate family members when dealing with personal or professional issues that are affecting their personal well-being and/or work performance. The CAF-Veterans Affairs Canada Joint Suicide Prevention Strategy also presents a holistic approach to suicide prevention.

We can all look forward to the release of the Total Health and Wellness Strategy in 2019, which will expand wellness beyond the traditional healthcare model.

For more ways you can participate in the Bell Let’s Talk campaign, please visit the official webpage.

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