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PSP will offer online activities, awareness and support for Bell Let’s Talk Day Jan. 26

By Patricia Leboeuf

Posted on Thursday January 13, 2022

Bell Let’s Talk Day encourages Canadians to open up about their mental health to build a more supportive community.

On Jan. 26, Garrison Petawawa Personnel Support Programs (PSP) will join this annual campaign and promote resilience among Canadian Armed Forces (CAF)members and their families.

The focus will be on virtual activities due to ongoing COVID-19 restrictions, confirmed Kevin Strachan, PSP Acting Manager Health Promotion.

“Prior to the pandemic, we would have representatives from health promotion, recreation, mental health, the padres and the PMFRC bag groceries, distribute promotional information about mental health, and be available to talk about mental health to the customers at CANEX on Bell Let’s Day,” he said.

The team will now reach out virtually, using social media to connect and highlight the campaign’s significance.

“It draws awareness to the importance of mental health, it engages Canadians to take action to create positive changes in mental health, and it raises a great deal of funding for mental health initiatives across the country,” said Strachan.

Bell Let’s Talk began in 2010, and PSP has been promoting it since its inception. Things are getting better every year on the mental health front, and attitudes have greatly changed.

“We have come a long way, and people are now recognizing the importance of mental health, as well as the relationship between physical and mental fitness,” said Strachan.

Some of the benefits include better stress management, reduction in anxiety, improved mood, increased self-esteem, improved performance, increased productivity, better relationships, clearer thinking, a greater sense of calm, reduced risk of depression, and better sleeping patterns.

“You will actually look and feel better,” said Strachan.

At the local level, there will be a contest and the opportunity to win Bell Let’s Talk prizes.

Participants are being asked to answer two questions: “How have you looked after yourself in the past year?” and “How have you supported others in the last year?” and send their responses to by noon on Jan. 25.

Submissions can include pictures or videos that keep the individual’s identity confidential, and all winners will be shared on the Health Promotion Facebook page on Bell Let’s Talk Day.

Everyone who participates will be eligible for a randomly selected prize.

PSP will also be reaching out to Garrison Petawawa units, encouraging members to start the discussion at their unit lines. Unit reps will be provided with the Bell Let’s Talk toolkit, which includes a facilitator’s guide and PowerPoint on ‘Starting the Conversation about Mental Health’. Health Promotion staff will be available in a supportive role to assist if needed. Pictures from the units and a description of their Bell Let’s Talk initiatives will be posted throughout the day on PSP social media.

Defence Team members and their families will also be encouraged to take part in the day by talking, texting, and tweeting about mental health under the campaign theme of “supporting themselves and each other.” Bell will donate $0.05 to Canadian mental health programs for every text message, mobile, and long-distance call made by Bell customers, every tweet using the hashtag #BellLetsTalk, every use of the Bell Let’s Talk Facebook and Snapchat filters, and every view of the Bell Let’s Talk Day video on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, and Snapchat.

They are also encouraged to share their thoughts and continue the conversation about mental health using the hashtag #CAFLetsTalk.

In addition, there will be a panel discussion on Jan. 26 from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., and testimonial videos will be going out via the Maple Leaf, Defence Team news email, social media, and the Bell Let’s Talk web page.

Tips to maintain your mental health can be found on the Bell Let’s Talk website and include: exercise your body daily, exercise your mind daily, eat healthy foods, ensure you have a good sleep every night, ensure safe use of substances, look after your spiritual health, schedule alone time, talk about your feelings, ensure you have a supportive group of family and/or friends, take a break when you need it, and finally, seek help when you need it.