OTTAWA, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - Feb. 12, 2013) - The Honourable Peter MacKay, Minister of National Defence, General Tom Lawson, the Chief of the Defence Staff, and Brigadier-General Jean-Robert Bernier, the Surgeon General, recognized Bell Canada today for their Bell Let's Talk initiative and its devotion to stigma reduction, access to care, workplace best practices and new research in mental health.
"The health needs, including mental health needs, of military personnel are a priority for the Government of Canada and the Canadian Armed Forces. Over the past 10 years, the Canadian Armed Forces has developed an exemplary and internationally-recognized workplace mental health program that provides dedicated and responsive care for ill and injured Canadian Armed Forces members, emphasizes the elimination of the barriers to mental healthcare, and includes a comprehensive mental health awareness program," said Minister MacKay. "We are pleased to see that Bell Canada has helped lead the way to implementing programs and practices that support the mental health of all Bell team members and to working with other Canadian organizations in the development of their own mental health programs."
"I commend Bell Canada for their on-going work to raise public awareness of mental health issues through the Let's Talk Campaign. Today is Bell Let's Talk Day, reminding us that we all have a duty to make sure those facing mental health challenges get the help they need," said General Lawson. "The Canadian Armed Forces has made great progress in breaking down barriers to the identification and treatment of mental health issues, and while we know we have more to do, we also know that we cannot do it alone. As a society, we have a collective responsibility to be aware of and to address mental health issues as soon as they arise."
The Canadian Armed Forces' mental health program and stigma reduction initiatives are founded on the pillars of committed leadership, engaged personnel and excellence in care. The Canadian Armed Forces have succeeded in developing a strong, supportive and involved leadership that fosters a culture of understanding. Through education programs that cover the full deployment and career cycle, personnel are aware of mental health issues and are engaged in promotion and prevention initiatives. The Canadian Armed Forces have also made great strides in eliminating barriers such as stigma associated with accessing mental healthcare. Dedicated and responsive care is delivered through evidence-based best practices and multidisciplinary teams.
"The Bell team applauds the Canadian Armed Forces for their commitment to mental health, and we welcome service members and their families to the Bell Let's Talk conversation," said George Cope, President and CEO of Bell Canada and BCE. "Bell is proud to support the mental health of the Canadian Armed Forces community through the annual True Patriot Love Dinner. We greatly appreciate how much the military community is doing to break down the stigma that prevents treatment and recovery."
"Initiatives such as Bell Let's Talk provide an opportunity for the Canadian Armed Forces to collaborate and coordinate mental health efforts with partners in civilian advocacy and health organizations. Together, the Canadian Armed Forces and its partners can help break down the barriers to mental health care both in the Canadian Armed Forces and the Canadian population at large," said Brigadier-General Bernier. "The Bell Let's Talk campaign serves to increase awareness, reduce stigma and help to change behaviours and attitudes about mental health issues. Through initiatives such as the 'Be the Difference' campaign and the Road to Mental Readiness program, the Canadian Armed Forces have been fostering these same goals."
From 2003 to 2009, the Canadian Armed Forces committed $98 million through its Mental Health Initiative to support the hiring of up to 218 additional mental health staff in order to raise the total to 447. The government remains committed to improving the mental health services to the Canadian Armed Forces. On September 12, 2012, Minister MacKay reallocated an additional $11.4 million, for a yearly total of $50 million, to enhance the Canadian Armed Forces' robust mental health programs and ensure that military personnel continue to receive the highest standard of services possible, wherever and whenever they serve.
Bell Let's Talk Day
Bell will donate an additional 5¢ to mental health programs for every long distance call and text message sent by Bell customers, and for every tweet using #BellLetsTalk, and Facebook share of the Bell Let's Talk image today. In 2012, over 78 million texts and calls were made on Bell Let's Talk Day, resulting in an additional contribution of $3.9 million by Bell to mental health initiatives. For more information on Bell Let's Talk, please visit letstalk.bell.ca/en.
Notes to editor / news director: For more information on mental health in the Canadian Armed Forces, please see the backgrounder on Mental Health Services in the Canadian Armed Forces: http://www.forces.gc.ca/site/news-nouvelles/news-nouvelles-eng.asp?id=4374.