Opinion

If you’re on social media, listening to the radio, or watching TV today, you’re likely familiar with #BellLetsTalk day. For every text, call, tweet, or TikTok video using the hashtag “#BellLetsTalk,” or Facebook frame or Snapchat filter used, Bell Media will donate 5 cents toward mental health initiatives in Canada.

Every year when this day comes around I struggle, as I don’t know how to feel. It’s great that it gives people the encouragement to get up, and to talk, or to share their stories they might have not shared previously. This is so, so, so, incredible. I can’t say that enough.

However, sometimes I feel it can be a bandwagon. In the same way we all become diehard hockey fans when it’s time for the Stanley Cup. There’s nothing wrong with getting swept up in something popular of course. There are people that dedicate hours every single day, all season long, up until that final, as they live and breathe hockey.

It’s not a perfect analogy maybe, but my point is that we need to make sure we’re Bell-Let’s-Talking all year long.

We have made incredible strides in mental health awareness, especially in the last decade; but it’s not enough to use a hashtag and click share on a post once a year and claim you’ve done your part. Many of us struggle every single day. There are of course always days that are better than others, but supporting those with mental illness isn’t just a bandwagon, something that’s popular, to talk about once a year.

Mental illness, as you’ve seen me cover in many previous articles, can be absolutely crippling some days. Raising awareness is a terrific first step.

On this day, where we are creating so much awareness, I challenge you — I challenge you to check in on those around you more than just once a year. Do something more than retweet or share a post on social media.

I challenge you to speak about your struggles — if you choose to do so — on a hot July day, when many have forgotten about the campaign. I challenge you to reach out. This is something that many of us struggle with 365 days a year, and it’s not always obvious.

Long story short, let’s talk and just be kind 365 days a year, all right?

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