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Sabrina Guillen
Communications Assistant
Mon, 01/27/2020 - 11:00

Did you know that one in five people in Canada will experience a mental health issue or illness in any given year? Few people have a clean bill of mental health. Being a student is extremely challenging, stressful, overwhelming and that doesn’t even account for everything happening in our lives outside of university. But, one of the biggest barriers to bettering your own mental health is often worrying about what others might think if you tell them. This stigma is something that WUSA, Waterloo, and Canada are working to break down to make sure everyone feels comfortable talking about what’s going on in their lives.

Taking a look back

In Canada, this kind of initiative culminates each year with the Bell Let’s Talk Day. With the original goal of contributing $50 million to mental health programs around Canada over five years, this activism was designed by a past CEO of Bell Canada who wanted to include a new corporate social responsibility program. While this was originally intended for marketing purposes in a time when mental health was less talked about than today, the Bell Let’s Talk initiative has exploded in its outreach. The campaign largely works on raising awareness through social media campaigns, celebrity support, and outreach at schools like ours. The original goal of $50 million was blown out of the water and was renewed in 2015 with a new goal of $100 million over another 5 years!

The nationwide initiative and outreach events have created awesome opportunities for Canadians to educate themselves on mental health and learn how to be kind, open, and considerate in conversation. By engaging on Bell Let's Talk Day, we can help de-stigmatize mental health in Canada, enable support services, further develop research programs, and finally make both the workplace and everyday life safer mental health spaces.

How can I get involved?

This year, Bell Let's Talk Day falls on January 29! For every applicable text, call, tweet, social media video view and use of Bell’s Facebook frame or Snapchat filters, they will donate more towards mental health initiatives in Canada by contributing five cents. Take the time to familiarize yourself with the mental health services on campus and in the community. Reach out to your friends and check in with them. If you’re unsure of how to start a conversation like that, Bell Let’s Talk has set up their own website with useful tips, tools, lists of nation-wide services, and more.

On-campus support

Here at Waterloo, we’re always working towards supporting your mental health and ensuring a positive student experience by providing crucial services, organizations, and people to reach out to when you’re in need. The Waterloo Mental Health & Wellness Guide [external link] is a great place to start if you're not sure who to contact or if you're looking to help a friend. Below, we’ve included a list of resources in case you need to speak to someone today.

On-campus contacts

UW Police [external link] 519-888-4567 ext. 22222

Counselling Services [external link] 519-888-4567 ext. 32655

Health Services - Student Medical Clinic [external link] 519-888-4096

MATES Student Life Centre, 3rd Floor Room 3102

Off-campus contacts

Grand River Hospital [external link] 519-749-4300

St. Mary's Hospital [external link] 519-744-3311

Good2Talk [external link] 1-866-925-5454

Here 24/7 [external link] 1-844-437-3247

Crisis Services Canada [external link] 1-833-456-4566 or by text 45645 

Kitchener-Waterloo Sexual Assault Support Centre [external link] 519-741-8633

Telecare Cambridge Distress Line [external link] 519-658-5455

Huron Perth Helpline (Stratford) [external link] 1-888-829-7484

Stratford General Hospital [external link] 519-272-8210

Regardless of how you plan on spending Bell Let’s Talk Day, we want you to know that as a community, we are here to support you. Our doors are always open and we’re eager to help out.