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2020 Bell Let's Talk Community Fund now open for applications

Annual $2 million fund supports local charities taking action to create positive change around mental health in their communities

MONTRÉAL, Jan. 24, 2020 /CNW Telbec/ - The Bell Let's Talk Community Fund is now accepting applications for grants in 2020. The annual $2 million program supports registered charities taking action to improve access to mental health care in every region of Canada.

"Over the last decade, the Bell Let's Talk Community Fund has helped more than 650 organizations on the front line of mental health care drive real change in their communities," said Bell Let's Talk Chair Mary Deacon. "We welcome this year's fund applicants and look forward to offering our support to even more exciting projects in 2020."

"One in 5 Canadians experience mental health challenges, and initiatives like Bell Let's Talk Day remind us to tell our family, friends, colleagues and neighbours: you are not alone," said the Honourable Patty Hajdu, Minister of Health. "These initiatives encourage us to support each other, enable organizations doing important work, and change the conversation around mental health. Join me, today and every day, to be there for one another."

Bell invites registered charities to apply for a grant up to $25,000 to support local mental health programs by visiting Bell.ca/LetsTalk. All applications are reviewed by a committee of mental health experts from across Canada. The 2020 application period runs until March 16 and all 2020 grants will be disbursed before December 31, 2020.

Here are some ways that the Bell Let's Talk Community Fund has supported organizations doing great work in mental health at the local level:

"CMHA Yukon has long had a vision to provide training for Peer Supporters and develop a Peer Support program," said Tiffanie Tasane, Executive Director of the Canadian Mental Health Association, Yukon Division. "Our Bell Let's Talk Community Fund grant is not only allowing this vision to become a reality but enabling other Peer Support initiatives in the Territory."

"With funding from Bell Let's Talk, Pacific Post Partum Support Society is providing one-on-one text support to mothers and their families experiencing postpartum depression/anxiety or distress," said Sheila Duffy, Director of Pacific Post Partum Support Society. "This technology expands our reach by increasing accessibility while also reducing barriers, so we can support families in a timely manner. As soon as mothers make that first connection, their healing process can begin."

"Our Bell Let's Talk Community Fund grant has helped The Mustard Seed improve access to culturally appropriate treatment for Indigenous clients," said Randi Sager (Lakota/Nêhiyaw), Provisional Registered Psychologist and Indigenous Counsellor at The Mustard Seed in Calgary. "Not only has the program strengthened peoples' Indigenous identity and created a sense of community, but it has also empowered people to create positive changes in their lives. One of the biggest changes we have seen is clients embracing their Indigenous identities without shame or guilt, which has led to them embarking on journeys of healing. hiy! hiy! (Thank you)."

"Bell Let's Talk helped Artbeat Studio expand our arts outreach programming by growing our capacity to reach farther and have greater impact in the community. Our Reach Out Arts programming empowers marginalized members of the community through creative exploration while developing meaningful connections amongst peers," said Uyen Pham, Executive Director of Artbeat Studio in Winnipeg. "This outreach sparks relationships and learning opportunities that extend way beyond each session ? it promotes social inclusion, confidence building, and mental wellbeing through creative expression."

"With funding from Bell Let's Talk, Scarborough Health Network can close the gap on mental health services for transitional age youth," said Lydia Huber, Manager of Mental Health at Scarborough Health Network Foundation. "We are able to provide specialized psychiatric and psycho-social treatment to ensure these vulnerable young patients receive the intensive age-appropriate support they need. This program will give our patients access to a network of highly experienced mental health professionals, and an array of social services such as housing, job placement and education supports which will lead to recovery and fulfillment."

"The Bell Let's Talk grant has completely transformed the living environment of the Haut-Richelieu Hospital's psychiatric unit, making it easier for families to be reunited at times when they need it the most," said Julie Coupal, Executive Director of the Fondation Santé. "A completely renovated patio will be used to offer gardening workshops starting in the spring while patients will also have access to exercise equipment, which has a considerable impact on their well-being."

"Funding from Bell Let's Talk has allowed us to open the door for vulnerable youth with our new after-school program, Reach for the Stars," said Amanda Beazley, Executive Director of Boys and Girls Club of Charlottetown. "Now youth who are at risk of developing mental health and addictions challenges have a safe, supportive and inclusive space to develop the skills to make healthy choices, build healthy relationships and bolster their self-esteem."

"Bell Let's Talk helped us continue to grow our Seeds of Success program to support Nova Scotians living with mental illness," said Faye LeBlanc, Managing Director of the Northwood Foundation. "The program promotes mental wellness by providing our residents with purposeful therapeutic activities which allows them to feel, think and act in ways that help them enjoy life and cope with its challenges."

Bell Let's Talk Day is January 29
Everyone is invited to join the conversation on Bell Let's Talk Day by sending messages of support across multiple platforms to drive awareness and action in mental health.

Bell donates 5 cents to Canadian mental health programs for each of these communications on Bell Let's Talk Day, at no cost to participants beyond what they would normally pay their service providers for online or phone access:

Since the first Bell Let's Talk Day in 2011, Canadians and people around the world have sent a total of more than 1 billion messages of support for mental health, bringing Bell's total commitment to $100,695,763.75, which includes the company's original $50 million anchor donation when Bell Let's Talk launched in 2010.

About Bell Let's Talk
The Bell Let's Talk mental health initiative is focused on 4 key action pillars: Anti-stigma, Care and Access, Research and Workplace Leadership. Since its launch in September 2010, Bell Let's Talk has partnered with more than 1,000 organizations providing mental health services throughout Canada, including hospitals, universities and other care and research organizations. To learn more, please visit Bell.ca/LetsTalk.

Media inquiries:

Jacqueline Michelis

SOURCE Bell Canada

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