Bell Let’s Talk and Cisco to unite students around Canada in a national conversation about mental health on Bell Let’s Talk Day

20 Jan 2015

Bell Let’s Talk and Cisco to unite students around Canada in a national conversation about mental health on Bell Let’s Talk Day

Clara Hughes and Michel Mpambara will lead live webcasts linking schools nationwide to encourage youth to talk about mental health

MONTRÉAL, January 14, 2015 – Bell Let’s Talk and Cisco today announced that students from across the country will join Clara Hughes, Canada’s 6-time Olympic medalist and Bell Let’s Talk national spokesperson, and Québec spokesperson Michel Mpambara, in nationwide webcast conversations about mental health on January 28 – the 5th annual Bell Let’s Talk Day. Special guests will join Clara, Michel and thousands of students at schools around the country in a live national conversation to end the stigma around mental illness.

“I am thrilled that so many students from around Canada will be able to join us directly in the conversation about mental health on Bell Let’s Talk Day,” said Clara. “Together we can change the way we talk about mental illness and help end the stigma that stops so many people from seeking the help they need. We all have family, friends and colleagues touched by mental illness, and I hope that by reaching so many young Canadians we can help inspire them to make a positive difference in people’s lives.”

On January 28, Clara will be at Jesse Ketchum Public School in Toronto and Michel will be in Montréal at École secondaire Dalbé-Viau, speaking with students and encouraging them to become champions for mental health. Through Cisco high-definition video collaboration technologies, Cisco TelePresence® and WebEx® Enabled TelePresence, youth from schools around Canada will virtually join Clara, Michel and the students of Jesse Ketchum and Dalbé-Viau for this unprecedented event.

In Toronto, Clara will be joined by TSN host Michael Landsberg and comedian Kevin Breel. Joining Michel in Montréal will be Olympian Alex Genest, Josiane Babin of the Mental Illness Foundation’s Partners for Life program, and NRJ radio and television host Anais Favron, who will moderate the event.

“Clara and Michel have such a powerful and important message to share with young people across Canada and Cisco is thrilled to help enable this important conversation through our technology,” said Willa Black, Vice President of Corporate Affairs for Cisco Canada. “We believe there is tremendous potential to end the stigma around mental illness by connecting and empowering Canadian youth.”

“We look forward to using the power of technology to welcome thousands of students across the country as they join us in the conversation on Bell Let’s Talk Day,” said Mary Deacon, Chair of Bell Let’s Talk. “With the examples of Clara and Michel leading the way, young people will be encouraged to speak freely and share their stories to help end the stigma of mental illness.”

Cisco TelePresence technology creates a live, face-to-face communication experience over the network that empowers participants to collaborate like never before. Cisco TelePresence solutions help people meet, share content, create high-quality video recordings and events, consult with experts, and deliver powerful personalized services, all using the power of the network for an immersive in-person experience. Cisco WebEx Enabled TelePresence enables any user with a standards-based video endpoint or WebEx client to join a meeting. Anyone, anywhere on any video-enabled device, including smartphones and tablets, can join a TelePresence meeting.

Join the conversation on Bell Let’s Talk Day On January 28, for every text message, wireless and long distance call made by Bell Canada and Bell Aliant customers, every tweet using #BellLetsTalk, and every Facebook share of that day’s Bell Let’s Talk Day image at Facebook.com/BellLetsTalk, Bell will donate 5 cents more to Canadian mental health programs.

In 2014, Canadians answered the call with a total of 109,451,718 messages including texts, wireless and long distance calls, tweets and Facebook shares, meaning Bell added another $5,472,585,90 to its Bell Let’s Talk funding commitment. Based on its original $50 million donation and the results of the last 4 Bell Let’s Talk Days, Bell has now committed more than $67.5 million to Canadian mental health.

Bell’s donations are made at no extra charge to Bell Let’s Talk Day participants, though normal long distance or text charges, if any, apply.

The Bell Let's Talk mental health initiative Bell Let’s Talk promotes mental health based on 4 action pillars – anti-stigma, care and access, research, and workplace best practices. The initiative supports mental health leaders across the country including the Royal Ottawa Hospital, Institut universitaire en santé mentale de Montréal, Hôpital Charles-LeMoyne, Montreal Jewish Hospital, the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH), the University of British Columbia, the Douglas Mental Health University Institute, Queen’s University, La Fondation du Centre hospitalier universitaire de Québec, Concordia University, Brain Canada, Kids Help Phone, Sunnybrook Hospital and Université Laval Foundation.

The annual Bell Let’s Talk Community Fund supports front-line mental health organizations in every region of the country. The Fund has provided grants of $5,000 to $50,000 to hundreds of community organizations focused on improving access to programs and services that support people living with mental health issues.