Bell Canada is marking its annual Let’s Talk Day with a call-to-action for increased mental-health support within communities and workplaces.

“This year’s campaign has taken a step in a bold new direction,” says Monika Mielnik, director of diversity, equity, inclusion, belonging, mental health and well-being at Bell Canada. “Our awareness campaign is focusing on the emotional storytelling that’s centered around real statistics which demonstrate there’s an ongoing mental-health crisis and why we all must do more.”

While there has been an increase in awareness and positive change around mental illness since the first Let’s Talk Day in 2010, she says a gap continues to exist between the availability of mental-health services and the number of people who need support.

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Dana Hurst, director of wellness at Brookfield Global Integrated Solutions Canada, agrees it’s important to raise awareness and provide mental-health support for employees. “Now, more than ever, mental health is so important and it’s really a priority for us. It’s great to have this day at the beginning of the year because it sets the tone for what’s to come and provides that initial push to focus on mental health. After Let’s Talk Day, we make sure to follow up with mental-health training and other initiatives throughout the year.”

BGIS Canada is marking Let’s Talk Day by sending out internal communications, highlighting its online resources and engaging senior leaders. “We’re having a senior leader panel where they can open up, be vulnerable and share their personal stories with other employees. That’s the significance of this day; it gives us an opportunity to create positive change for our employees who are currently dealing with mental-health issues.”

Read: 2022 Mental Health Summit: How Bell Canada is evolving its workplace mental-health strategy

Mielnik says employers can apply the principles of Let’s Talk Day by reviewing and implementing the National Standard for Psychological Health and Safety in the Workplace, a voluntary set of guidelines and resources that aims to promote mental health and prevent psychological harm. She also suggests employers establish a baseline of metrics to monitor their employees’ psychological safety, so they can begin designing programs and supports to address the challenges that are identified.

“The creation of a safe work environment that focuses on physical and mental health is vital to accomplishing business goals. Through our journey of investing in mental-health programs and services, we’ve learned it produces both tangible and intangible benefits, including greater engagement, a supportive workplace culture, greater retention and talent attraction.”

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