Canadian Mental Health Association is hoping to access funding raised by Bell Let’s Talk Day to help Central Albertans.
Christine Stewart, executive director of CMHA Central Region, said in the past the local office hasn’t applied for funding and Bell has done a lot for many communities.
“Our mental health and wellness education program has historically had to charge fees for the courses that we run. We’re hoping that with Bell’s Let’s Talk we’ll be able to eliminate those fees at least for the next year,” Stewart said on Wednesday.
Bell’s 2018 Community Fund provides grants of $5,000 to $25,000 to projects that improve access to mental health care, supports and services for people in Canada.
Through Bell Let’s Talk Day, Bell donates 5 cents to mental health initiatives in Canada for every text or mobile and long distance call made by Bell Canada or Bell Aliant customers.
Money will also be donated if anyone uses #BellLetsTalk in a Tweet and Instagram post, views the Bell Let’s Talk Day video at Facebook.com/BellLetsTalk, or uses the Bell Let’s Talk Snapchat geofilter.
Bell has encouraged conversations about mental health since 2011. Last year it raised $6.5 million with 131,705,010 messages.
Stewart said it’s important to continue to support conversations even after eight years.
“The main thing is to stop making it embarrassing. Going through postpartum, women don’t like to admit they’re failing as a mom. Teenagers these days, nobody wants to look like they don’t have the perfect life. Businessmen who are successful at work don’t want to look like they can’t handle the stress of their job.”
Mental health issues can be triggered by trauma both negative or positive, she said.
“People often forget traumatic events can often be positive, weddings, graduating from college. They’re stressful. Sometimes people don’t want to ask for help because life should be good. But change is hard no matter what kind of change it is.”
Stewart said interest in mental health programs and resources is growing in Central Alberta.
“What’s difficult is people don’t make the time for their mental health. In our day and age everyone is so busy. It’s just like taking time to exercise. People really struggle to take that time to look after themselves.”