I grew up on the grounds of a children’s psychiatric research institute in London, Ontario, the son of a child psychiatrist.
Two of my siblings are in the “family business”.
So, I was really taken with Bell’s announcement last week that it has launched a 5 year, $50 million initiative to support mental health across Canada, with Canada’s Olympic hero, Clara Hughes, acting as spokesperson for a national Let’s Talk campaign.
Last year, I wrote about the longtime association between the telecommunications sector and community service; much good work is being done by the companies and individuals working in our industry. Indeed, this year’s Telecom Hall of Fame ceremony will recognize the work of the Telecom Pioneers of Canada, preparing to celebrate the milestone of a century of community service work.
Bell’s multi-year commitment to support mental health is especially important in many ways. Mental health isn’t something people like to talk about; one of the four pillars of Bell’s Mental Health Initiative deals with Anti-stigma. Public perception is the leading reason that most of those living with a mental illness do not seek help. Bell’s willingness to have its brand associated with helping Canadians deal with mental illness is a brave and bold statement to open the national conversation about mental health.
For me, I took a special interest in this announcement. Maybe I liked seeing such an important player in my business – telecommunications – take an active interest in my family’s main line of work – mental health.