KAMLOOPS — The annual Bell Let's Talk campaign uses social media to spread a message of support for people living with mental illness, while donating money to Canadian mental health initiatives.
The campaign has gained national attention, and Thompson Rivers University participated by showing support to students, staff, and faculty.
"Mental health really impacts all of us," said Chelsea Corsi, wellness coordinator at TRU. "One in five people in Canada will be diagnosed with a mental illness in their lifetime. So, really if you look at the numbers that's 20 per cent of Canadians. We all know someone who struggles with mental illness or mental health issues, and it's just really important to reduce the stigma and show that we're okay to talk about it."
Students were encouraged to open up around an outdoor campfire, write a message of support, or express themselves visually at an emoji making station.
Hundreds of students filtered through the various stations throughout the day, adding their voices to the mental health discussion.
Through the Bell Let's Talk Campaign, $86.5 million has been donated to mental health initiatives, helping more than 740,000 individuals gain access to mental health care.
While the campaign had had a far-reaching impact, there's still work to be done.
"I definitely think more doors have been opened, in terms of 'it's okay,'" Corsi said. "But I still think there is stigma, so it is hard for someone who may be experiencing mental health concerns to step forward. So, here at TRU we have a lot of programs in place, such as the Wellness Centre, our counselling department, an early alert program, case managers, accessibility services, mostly housed within Student Services to help students, for example, if they need somewhere to talk."
A list of ways to support the cause is available o the Bell Let's Talk website.
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