(Bell Media’s Toby Johnston – Afternoon Host at Virgin Radio Winnipeg)
“Canada, you rock! We know the need to talk about mental illness is clear, and I know from my travels all around the country that Canadians want to make a positive difference for those who struggle, and you have. But I’m truly overwhelmed by the depth and breadth of the non-stop conversation about mental health this year and by what we’ve all built together,” said Clara Hughes, Canada’s 6-time Olympic medalist and Bell Let’s Talk national spokesperson since the initiative began in 2010. “We’re the leaders. Canadians are well known for our compassion, and now we’re setting a great example for people around the world who want to move mental health forward in their own nations, to talk openly about mental illness, and to fight the stigma every day as we do. Hey, was I proud for Canada when I saw our Prime Minister talking so openly and positively about mental illness? Did I cry? Yes and yes!”
Over the 28.5 hour period between midnight Newfoundland time and midnight Pacific time, Bell Let’s Talk Day 2016 tallied 125,915,295 total interactions, including wireless calls, long distance calls and texts by Bell customers, and tweets and Facebook shares supporting Bell Let’s Talk by people around Canada and worldwide. That’s a 3.1% increase over the 122,150,772 total interactions on Bell Let’s Talk Day 2015. With Bell’s donation of 5 cents per interaction, at no extra charge to participants, that’s $6,295,764.75 more for Canadian mental health programs.
The top Twitter trend in Canada yesterday, #BellLetsTalk was the most-used hashtag in the world, with 6,826,114 total tweets and retweets – 43% more than last year. The #stopthestigma, #endthestigma, #mentalhealthawareness and #sicknotweak hashtags also trended throughout the day.
Support came from Canada’s most prominent leaders including Governor General David Johnston and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau as well as the Royal family with tweets from the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge Will and Kate and Prince Harry too. During a special primetime airing of The Social, Prime Minister Trudeau shared his own experiences in a deep and personal conversation that included the studio audience.
All day long, Canadian party leaders, members of Parliament, provincial and territorial premiers and ministers, mayors and councillors, Olympians, professional sports teams and players, major corporations and a broad range of the most high-profile Canadian, US and global entertainers and other celebrities drove hundreds of thousands of retweets from fans and followers.
“To our tremendous Bell Let’s Talk team, and to everyone who is helping move the cause forward, thank you for joining and growing Canada’s mental health conversation like never before. Your participation continues to drive Bell’s donations to mental health programs and we’re excited at the impressive new initiatives we’ve been able to partner with already this year,” said Mary Deacon, Chair of Bell Let’s Talk. “The all-Canadian Bell Let’s Talk has become a worldwide phenomenon, underlining what I think is a global aspiration for a major move forward in the way we view mental illness and practice mental health. Congratulations everyone, and thank you!”
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