In 2010, Bell and lg2 launched Let’s Talk to raise money for mental health organizations across the country by getting Canadians to talk openly about mental health. A digital ecosystem and communication platform were created, featuring testimonials from public personalities and Canadians of all origins.
By initiating this important conversation on a national scale, a powerful alliance between an important cause and an established communications company was born, putting a human face on a taboo subject and breaking stereotypes.
In 2021 and 2022, for the 11th and 12th campaign, the pandemic could not be ignored. More than ever, its effects on our individual and collective mental health can be felt. And more than ever, each action of support helps. We created different scenarios anchored in the current situation in order to reflect the realities of living through a pandemic.
“Our initial objective in 2010 was simply to get Canadians talking about the one subject they didn’t like talking about. But since its launch, Bell Let’s Talk has succeeded in radically changing how mental health is discussed. A subject that was once taboo has become part of the Canadian cultural landscape. And now that the biggest conversation in the country has been launched again, everything is in place to keep this essential topic on everyone’s lips.”
It may seem like another era, but the funds donated by Bell were originally generated by every long distance call made and text message sent.
For the last 12 years, Let’s Talk communications have mirrored the evolution of our changing attitudes toward mental health. Social media platforms are continually evaluated and optimized in order to increase points of contact with Canadians. The digital (and technological) ecosystem created for the campaign allows a near real-time count of the millions of interactions generated on Let’s Talk Day. The day itself is also a 24-hour client-agency partnership played out in a war room, where original, real-time reactive content is created to keep people talking. And talking.
The focus of the platform has adapted over the years too. After having broken taboos during the initial years, the focus shifted to getting all Canadian on board, with testimonials from both celebrities and everyday people demonstrating the importance of talking openly about mental health. Following these courageous testimonials, the focus turned to identifying and explaining the different ways of helping, before explaining how every action – no matter how big or small – counts. Even though the campaign has evolved over time, it’s still just the beginning.
Every year, Bell Let’s Talk Day’s pan-Canadian impact is felt from coast to coast, bringing together families, friends, colleagues, competitors and allies. It’s even made an international splash, with tweets from stars such as Ellen DeGeneres, Ryan Reynolds, Shawn Mendes and Céline Dion, and politicians such as Canadian Prime Minister Justine Trudeau and Quebec Premier Français Legault.
Let’s Talk has become more than a campaign, it’s become the benchmark for other charitable and non-profit causes in Canada that are trying to change the status quo. And year after year, without fail, the overall interactions, conversations and corresponding donations have increased.
Since the start of the program, Bell has donated a total of $121,373,806.75 to mental health organizations thanks to the more than 1.3 billion interactions on Bell Let’s Talk Day. That means more than one million people have been given access to mental health services that wouldn’t have had access before. Over the years, mental health has consistently been the number one subject on Twitter worldwide on this day, with #BellLetsTalk taking top spot as the most popular hashtag on social platforms in the country and around the world!
And attitudes are definitely changing. 87% of people surveyed said they were more aware of mental health issues since the launch of Bell’s Let’s Talk initiative. The funds raised and the number of interactions generated in a single day continue to increase year after year. And we will continue to talk about it, more often, louder and in every home across Canada.
The leader in Canadian telecommunications, Bell offers consumers and businesses solutions for Internet, TV, wireless, residential telephone and business communications. Thanks to its Let’s Talk program, since 2011, the company has donated $120 million to healthcare initiatives. Find out more at letstalk.bell.ca.