Priorities

Community and society

Mental health

Bell strengthens communities across the country through the Bell Let’s Talk mental health initiative and a range of other community projects and sponsorships, as well as through the volunteer engagement of our team members. These initiatives not only support the communities involved, they also increase team engagement because they reflect the deeply held values of Bell team members. Our overall community investment in 2021 was $21.7 million.1

Target: Make a meaningful contribution to improving mental health in Canadian communities through 4 key action pillars: anti-stigma, care and access, research, and workplace health

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Since its launch in September, 2010, Bell Let’s Talk has partnered with more than 1,300 organizations providing mental health support and services across Canada. This includes hospitals, universities, local community service providers and other care and research organizations.

This year’s Bell Let’s Talk Day campaign continued to focus on action, encouraging Canadians to keep listening, keep talking and keep being there for ourselves and each other. Canadians and people around the world set unprecedented records for engagement in the mental health conversation on Bell Let’s Talk Day 2022, sharing 164,298,820 messages of support and driving $8,214,941 in new mental health funding by Bell. Bell’s total funding commitment now stands at $129,588,747.75, on track to reach our $155 million target.

For more information about how Bell Let’s Talk is making an impact on Canadian mental health, visit Bell.ca/LetsTalk

The 4 key pillars

ANTI-STIGMA

In January, 2022, more than 180 communities and organizations across Canada and around the world showed their support for mental health by raising the Bell Let’s Talk flag at city and town halls, military bases and schools. Students at 228 Canadian universities and colleges across the country also engaged in a variety of initiatives in their learning environments to promote student mental health. These, and many other activities, have helped change attitudes and fight the stigma around mental illness. Today, 78% of Canadians think attitudes about mental illness have changed for the better. Behaviours have also changed dramatically. In 2011, 42% of Canadians said that they felt comfortable talking to a colleague, schoolmate or acquaintance about a mental health diagnosis. In 2022, 69% of Canadians indicated that they talk to friends, family members or colleagues about mental health. Additionally, 69% of Canadians reported having taken steps to care for their own mental health.2

CARE AND ACCESS

In May 2021, Bell announced a five-year, $1 million donation to Rise, to empower entrepreneurship among Canadians with mental health and addiction challenges. Building on Bell’s earlier support for Rise programs, the donation is enabling Rise to engage even more Canadians with mental health and addiction challenges via entrepreneurship training, mentorship and lending, and is supporting the organization’s expansion into Manitoba with the launch of Rise Winnipeg.

In 2021, the newly launched Bell Let’s Talk Post-Secondary Fund awarded more than $3 million in initial grants to 127 post-secondary institutions to support the implementation of the National Standard of Canada for Mental Health and Well-Being for Post-Secondary Students and the Québec Action Plan on Student Mental Health for Higher Education. A further $1 million in implementation grants were awarded to 16 Canadian colleges, universities and cégeps, which are using the Standard to identify specific gaps or needs in their mental health support services and are building new initiatives to address them.

In January 2022, Bell announced 6 new recipients of grants from the Bell Let’s Talk Diversity Fund, a $5 million commitment launched in July 2020 to support the mental health and wellbeing of Black, Indigenous and People of Colour communities across Canada. To learn more about this initiative, see the Supporting diversity, equity and inclusion in our communities section of this report.

The Bell Let’s Talk Community Fund has provided $15 million to 888 organizations nationwide since 2011, enabling partners to improve access to mental health care, support and services. Since 2013, the Bell True Patriot Love Fund has provided more than $2 million and over 115 grants to organizations across the country, improving access to mental health care for military members, Veterans and their families. In 2021, a total of $350,000 was awarded to 11 organizations, making a meaningful difference in the lives of military serving members, Veterans and their families.

RESEARCH

Research holds the greatest promise for reaching a better understanding of treatments and solutions. Bell is investing in research programs with the potential to have a transformative impact on the mental health and wellbeing of Canadians. In a new partnership, the Bell Let’s Talk – Brain Canada Mental Health Research Program is accelerating Canadian brain research through a joint $4 million partnership with the federal government. In January 2022, Bell and Brain Canada announced the 5 multidisciplinary teams selected to receive funding to develop more effective, sustainable and accessible mental health care solutions for all people living in Canada.

WORKPLACE LEADERSHIP

On average, mental health issues account for 30% to 40% of short-term disability claims and 30% of long-term disability claims in Canada.3 Bell leads by example in its own workplace by implementing the voluntary Standard for Psychological Health and Safety in the Workplace, and is encouraging greater corporate engagement across Canada. For more details on workplace health initiatives, refer to Mental health in the workplace in this report.

In 2021, Bell joined One Mind at Work, a global coalition of organizations committed to the development and implementation of workplace mental health and wellbeing. Mary Deacon, Chair of the Bell Let’s Talk mental health initiative, is a member of the One Mind at Work Guiding Council that oversees the multi-year strategy of the organization.

 
  1. PwC provided limited assurance over this indicator. See PwC’s assurance statement.
  2. Angus Reid Strategies, online survey of 1,800 Canadians (18 yrs and over) representing the Canadian population. Survey conducted January 27 – February 1, 2022.
  3. Deloitte, The ROI in workplace mental health programs: Good for people, good for business, 2019