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Bell Let's Talk Community Fund now open for 2021 applications

$2 million annual fund for localized initiatives that enhance access to mental health care

MONTRÉAL, Jan. 19, 2021 /CNW Telbec/ - Bell today announced that applications for grants are now being accepted for the 2021 Bell Let's Talk Community Fund. The $2 million annual program supports registered charities working to improve access to mental health care at the local level in communities throughout Canada.

"Underscoring our commitment to enable action in mental health everywhere, the Bell Let's Talk Community Fund has supported almost 800 local and grassroots organizations in every province and territory since its launch in 2011," said Mary Deacon, Chair of Bell Let's Talk. "As demand for help has surged due to COVID-19, supporting mental health action at the community level matters now more than ever."

"Living through the experience of COVID-19 has been hard on our mental health. Initiatives like Bell Let's Talk Day, the community groups it supports, and the Wellness Together Portal are important ways for people to get support," said the Honourable Patty Hajdu, Minister of Health. "On Bell Let's Talk Day, think of ways to help each other. Many of us are lonely and need support. But kindness and compassion for one another will go a long way."

Bell Let's Talk encourages registered charities to apply for a grant up to $25,000 to support local mental health programs by visiting Bell.ca/LetsTalk. All applications received are reviewed by a committee of Canadian mental health experts. The 2021 application period runs until March 15 and all 2021 grants will be disbursed before December 31, 2021.

Bell Let's Talk thanks the many local and grassroots organizations that are working to help people in communities throughout the country. Here are some stories:

"Our Bell Let's Talk Community Fund grant supported first responders, frontline workers, healthcare professionals, public safety personnel and the important people in their lives affected by Critical Incident Stress or Post Traumatic Stress Disorder," said Karen Conter, Chairperson of The Tema Foundation in Nova Scotia. "During COVID-19, we had to adapt our plans quickly ?thanks to this funding we were able to transition our PPE For Your Mind educational course online and extend our reach with video to help support over 10,000 Canadians who keep us healthy and safe every day, along with their families, all across the country."

"Bell Let's Talk has enabled the Centre de pédiatrie sociale de Saint-Laurent to offer psychosocial support to women who are experiencing very difficult situations during their pregnancies, affecting their mental health and the health of their baby, by helping them access care and services, safe housing and food assistance," said Centre de pédiatrie sociale de Saint-Laurent Executive Director Christine Durocher. "With the acute impact of COVID-19, the support of the Bell Let's Talk Community Fund enabled us to be on the lookout for rising distress and act quickly."

"Our Bell Let's Talk Community Fund grant was crucial for Rural Ottawa South Support Services (ROSSS) to provide essential mental health services to seniors in Ottawa's rural communities, enabling us to meet the urgent need for local and accessible counselling," said Kelly Dumas, Executive Director of ROSSS. "In these challenging times, there have been unprecedented instances of senior caregiver burnout. The counselling and mental health support that we are now able to provide thanks to our grant is a lifeline for many senior caregivers who otherwise would have not been supported."

"The Bell Let's Talk Community Fund grant provided FIREFLY an opportunity to offer virtual services to clients in our large geographical region across Northern Ontario including many Indigenous communities," said Ashley Apland, Clinical Manager of FIREFLY. "We were able to reduce barriers, use an innovative way to provide mental health services, and continue to grow our ever expanding virtual care."

"Bell Let's Talk funding for our garden and mental health program helped us create a community offering healing and support, as well as grow over 100 pounds of produce for our community kitchen," said Mareike Brunelli, Director of Community Services at West Central Women's Resource Centre in Winnipeg. "Participants told us how good it felt to grow and nurture living things while nourishing the community, and how the garden was a safe space to open up and share stories during a difficult summer when COVID-19 presented us with so many challenges in providing safe activities for our clients."

"When young people age out of the foster care system, they also age out of mental health services. With the support of Bell Let's Talk, Aunt Leah's and our partner Dan's Legacy, we have been able to expand services to youth past the age of 19," said Sarah Stewart, Executive Director of Aunt Leah's Place in New Westminster, BC. "Our Community Fund grant enabled us to adapt and expand our mental health supports for young people to include virtual counselling, extending our reach to over 150 vulnerable youth and helping create an environment where all youth connected to the foster care system have equal opportunities akin to what parented children receive."

"CMHA Yukon's Peer Support Training Project has enhanced and fostered incredible relationships amongst 350 volunteers, clients and stakeholders thanks to our Bell Let's Talk Community Fund grant," said Tiffanie Tasane, Executive Director, CMHA Yukon. "Community members across the territory living with mental illness or caregiving for those who do, are directly benefitting through improved recovery thanks to support activities, a reduction in symptoms and stronger connections to mental health care supports where they live."

Bell Let's Talk Day is January 28
On Bell Let's Talk Day January 28, Canadians everywhere will join in the global mental health conversation. You can use a wide range of communications platforms to join in ? and directly drive Bell's donations to Canadian mental health programs simply by participating.

On Bell Let's Talk Day, Bell donates 5 cents to Canadian mental health programs for every applicable text, local or long distance call, tweet or TikTok video using #BellLetsTalk, every Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Snapchat, TikTok, Twitter and YouTube view of the Bell Let's Talk Day video, and every use of the Bell Let's Talk Facebook frame or Snapchat filter. All at no cost to participants beyond what they would normally pay their service provider for online or phone access.

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 1,100 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
[email protected] 

SOURCE Bell Canada

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