Local organizations that are helping people with their mental health: Bell Let’s Talk

Wednesday marks the 12th annual Bell Let’s Talk day.

Bell’s campaign aims to help raise awareness about the importance of mental health and to help end the stigma.

Bell will donate five cents for every call or text message by a Bell customer, #BellLetsTalk used on Twitter and TikTok, or view of the Bell Let’s Talk Day video on Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Snapchat, TikTok, Twitter, and YouTube.

For many people, Bell let’s talk day serves as a reminder to put their mental health first. From the beginning, the initiative has raised millions of dollars, but where does the money go locally?

ChildREACH is one of the local recipients in London, Ont. The organization offers a safe environment, free of stigma including many services to help both children and their families.

With help from a Bell Let’s Talk grant, they were able to create a free program for mothers who need mental health support.

Yvette Scrivener is the Executive Director of ChildREACH, she told CTV News “one in five moms and expectant mothers are at risk of developing a perinatal mood disorder. Perinatal mood disorder manifests themselves in symptoms of anxiety and depression.”

In reference to the program for new mothers created in 2021, Scrivener says, “It was a facilitated group where we were able to bring in a parent support educator as well as a clinician to talk and listen to mothers share their experiences as new parents.”

Childreach’s mother reach program for 2021 provided a drop-in support group that also provided parents with referrals and recommendations to mental health agencies and care for their children.

As the pandemic continues into its third year, the need for mental health support is at an all-time high.

“You can’t be healthy without good mental health,” said Brad Stark, the executive director of St. Leonard’s community services.

St. Leonard’s located in Brantford, Ont. is a non-profit charitable organization that has been working to help those struggling. They provide crisis services, including a 24/7 crisis line, counselling and a walk-in clinic.

“During the pandemic we’ve seen exponential increases in demand for those services. 50-60 per cent year over year,” he said. “We used the Bell Let’s Talk grant money to increase the staffing for that program.”

Stark said another way to help end the stigma is to reach out when someone needs assistance and to keep the conversation going.

“That’s what the Bell Let’s Talk campaign is all about,” said stark. “Talk to a friend, talk to a co-worker, call us. Talk to somebody about it because that is the first step to get help.”

For mothers seeking mental health assistance, Scrivener says they can find support and services available at www.healthunit.com/pmh