Clara Hughes motivated by stories for mental health campaign

28 Jan 2014

The Bell Let’s Talk campaign aims to garner more than 100 million texts, phone calls, tweets and Facebook messages this year, the fourth year of the national mental health awareness campaign.

For every tweet with the hashtag #BellLetsTalk, Bell will donate five cents to mental health initiatives.

Five cents is also donated for every text, phone call and Facebook share of the company's Bell Let's Talk image.

Mental health is an important cause to former Winnipeg Olympic speed skater and cyclist Clara Hughes. She's encouraging Canadians to participate in the campaign.

“I’ve had personal experience going through depression as a young athlete”, said Hughes speaking from Toronto to CTV's Morning Live host Eleanor Coopsammy.

Hughes is a spokesperson for the Bell Let’s Talk initiative. She said she's motivated by the stories of others, and in the past four years has seen the campaign shift in the kinds of stories people have been sharing. She said she hears more hopeful stories rather than those of hopelessness now.

Hughes said there are many people working in the field of mental health who are doing good work. She says in Winnipeg there are many champions in the field, calling them “the truly inspiring people in all of this".

Hughes said the level of awareness around mental health in Canada grows every year. In 2013, she said the Bell Let’s Talk campaign garnered 92 million calls, tweets and messages on Facebook. This year the initiative hopes to surpass the 100 million mark.

Event in Winnipeg

Winnipeggers are showing support for Bell Let's Talk day by holding community events and posting messages online.

Jan. 28, the Canadian Mental Health Association is hosting a special skate from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. at the Clara Hughes Recreation Park.

Hot beverages and sticky buns will be served and Sport Manitoba will supply skates to people who don't have their own.

There will also be entertainment, an ice sculpture workshop, winterslide and snowshoeing.