Jack.org and Bell Let's Talk bolster support for youth mental health

$500,000 donation over 5 years to expand the reach of Jack Chapters in hundreds of communities around the country

MONTRÉAL, Jan. 14, 2021 /CNW Telbec/ - Bell Let's Talk and Jack.org today announced a $500,000 investment over the next 5 years to equip Jack Chapter leaders with training, mentorship and digital education tools to support the mental health of young people across the country.

"It's so heartening to be able to work with Bell Let's Talk at this critical time to ensure that young people all across Canada have access to engaging mental health education and resources," said Eric Windeler, Founder and Executive Director of Jack.org. "Building on the mental health conversations happening across Jack.org, we're ensuring young people know how to safely and effectively support themselves and one another – and access the help they need and deserve. I have heard from so many youth who are really struggling since the pandemic started. It is alarming. Without a doubt, now more than ever, mental health matters."

"Bell Let's Talk is proud to help Jack.org achieve its goal to provide over 3,000 Jack Chapter leaders with the tools they need to support youth mental health in their communities," said Mary Deacon, Chair of Bell Let's Talk. "We look forward to working with this great organization and the impressive youth leaders of the Jack Chapters who are helping their peers navigate mental health supports across the country, including in remote and underserved communities."

Jack Chapters are groups of young people working year-round to identify and dismantle barriers to positive mental health in their communities. Last year, 2,246 young leaders from 215 Jack Chapters organized 657 initiatives and started over 62,000 mental health conversations with peers. And while COVID-19 interrupted in-person programming, the need for support continued to grow, so Jack.org adapted programs to engage young people virtually by bringing mental health initiatives online.

"The pandemic has turned our student lives upside down," said Alexandra Radu, Université de Montréal Chapter Lead. "Jack Chapters have played a key role in ensuring that their constituencies would remain socially connected in spite of being physically distanced. Our Chapter decided to create and publish an advent calendar suggesting ways to improve self-care and mitigate feelings of isolation during the holidays."

"Chapters are amazing because they enable peer to peer interactions. There's camaraderie because we understand the unique barriers each other is facing in the mental health space. This drives us. We feel like we can do anything if we do it together," said Kimberley Rutledge, University of British Columbia Okanagan Chapter Lead.

"Bell Let's Talk has started so many important conversations about mental health. Now we, as Jack Chapters, need to work to keep the conversation going," said Sadia Fazelyar, Founder of the Woodbridge Community Jack Chapter in Toronto. "This has only become more important in the face of a global pandemic, when young people are facing increased anxiety, uncertainty and isolation, with a lot of regular mental health supports being disrupted. It's so incredible to think of the thousands of young people across the country who are working alongside me to change their communities for good."

"I do a lot of work to bring mental health resources to rural and remote communities. It's so important on the east coast, when services can often be prohibitively far away for people who need them. Support from Bell Let's Talk means we can do more of this work at a time when it's so, so critical," said Clayton Murphy, Jack.org Network Representative in Halifax.

"Services in the north are hard to come by, and often not culturally appropriate. Jack Chapter work creates pockets in our communities where young people can thrive – on their terms," said Paige Savard, Jack Chapter Lead at Yukon University.

Virtual Jack Talk
On January 26, Bell Let's Talk and Jack.org will host a virtual Jack Talk. Youth speakers will share personal stories to help educate young people to recognize signs of struggle, learn how to support others, and find ways to connect to help. To register for this free event, please visit Jack.org.

Bell also yesterday announced the launch of the Bell Let's Talk Post-Secondary Fund to support Canadian colleges and universities as they work to implement the National Standard of Canada for Mental Health and Well-Being for Post-Secondary Students.

Bell Let's Talk Day is January 28
On Bell Let's Talk Day January 28, Canadians everywhere will join in the global mental health conversation. You can use a wide range of communications platforms to join in – and directly drive Bell's donations to Canadian mental health programs simply by participating.

On Bell Let's Talk Day, Bell donates 5 cents to Canadian mental health programs for every applicable text, local or long distance call, tweet or TikTok video using #BellLetsTalk, every Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Snapchat, TikTok, Twitter and YouTube view of the Bell Let's Talk Day video, and every use of the Bell Let's Talk Facebook frame or Snapchat filter. All at no cost to participants beyond what they would normally pay their service provider for online or phone access.

Jack.org is Canada's only charity training and empowering young leaders to revolutionize mental health in every province and territory. Through Do Something, Jack Talks, Jack Chapters, and Jack Summits, young leaders identify and dismantle barriers to positive mental health in their communities. And through ambitious innovations in youth mental health like Be There, we give people the mental health resources they need to educate themselves. We're working towards a Canada where all young people understand how to take care of their own mental health and look out for each other. A Canada without shame, and where all those who need support, get the help they deserve. Our movement is powered by tens of thousands of advocates and allies across every province and territory of Canada. And, we're just getting started.

Bell Let's Talk
The largest-ever corporate commitment to mental health in Canada, Bell Let's Talk is focused on 4 key action pillars: Anti-stigma, Care and Access, Research and Workplace Leadership. Since its launch in September 2010, Bell Let's Talk has partnered with more than 1,100 organizations providing mental health supports and services throughout Canada, including hospitals, universities, local community service providers and other care and research organizations. To learn more, please visit Bell.ca/LetsTalk.

Media inquiries:
Alex Johnson

Katie Hatfield

SOURCE Bell Canada