Every year since 2010, Bell Canada has run their Bell Let’s Talk campaign. Being a phone company, we might be inclined to think that it would be some cell phone promotion, but instead it is actually a mental health campaign, and over the past four years, they’ve managed to raise $62.5 million for mental health initiatives. Those initiatives are: anti-stigma, care and access, workplace health, and finally research. In fact, what Bell Let’s Talk aims to do for mental health in general is closely linked to what the Canadian BFRB Support Network wants to do for BFRBs.
This is what Bell has to say about mental health: “Recognizing that simply talking makes a significant impact in breaking down the barriers to mental health, the campaign encourages people to ‘start the conversation’ about mental health and engage in dialogue with friends, family and co-workers.”
Sounds about right on par with how we believe in breaking the stigma surrounding BFRBs. We need to start the conversation. Without conversation about these issues, nothing will change and people will continue to suffer in silence. Most, if not all, of us know the feeling of being alone with our BFRB, afraid of what people will say and how people will react. By talking, we can share information with others and provide them with knowledge about our disorders, which will hopefully lead to a greater understanding instead of ignorant judgement.
But how do we do that?
Although Bell Let’s Talk is about mental health in general, there’s no saying that we can’t add our side of the conversation to the campaign. BFRBs are a mental health issue, too, and not to mention that they link to many other mental health issues, so we have every right to talk about them during other mental health campaigns, including Bell Let’s Talk. Not only will we be able to help to break the stigma for our own disorders, but in the case of Bell Let’s Talk specifically, by doing so we will also be helping mental health as a whole.
During their Let’s Talk campaign on January 28th, Bell donates 5cents for every text message sent and long distance or mobile call made from a Bell customer, and also for every tweet using the #BellLetsTalk hashtag and every share of their Bell Let’s Talk image on Facebook. It’s just that simple.
On the 28th, we can participate and spread awareness by tweeting a bit of BFRB information or maybe even a BFRB link with #BellLetsTalk. These tweets can reach people who search using the hashtag and it also has the potential to be retweeted by the Bell Let’s Talk Twitter account, which would reach even more people. As for Facebook, if we share their image, we could also include BFRB information and links when posting it to our own timeline and for our friends to see. Depending on your privacy settings, that’s a more limited audience, but still has potential to reach people.
True, it can be scary to talk about our own disorders, especially on a platform like Facebook where our friends, family and maybe even co-workers can see, so if you’re not quite comfortable talking about BFRBs, you could simply share the Bell Let’s Talk image or a generic mental health tweet and leave it at that. That still garners a 5cent donation from Bell, which may not go directly towards BFRBs, but can still help. Remember, Bell Let’s Talk promotes anti-stigma, access and care, workplace health and research, all of which are needed in the mental health world.
I wanted to write this to show that even if a mental health campaign isn’t addressing BFRBs directly, we can still use them to get the conversation going and to spread awareness. At the very least, we can do some good for the mental health community as a whole, in this case by racking up those 5cent donations from Bell. So on January 28th, let’s get texting, calling, sharing and tweeting, and raise some awareness.