January 28, 2021 – Ottawa – National Defence / Veterans Affairs Canada
The Honourable Harjit S. Sajjan, Minister of National Defence, and the Honourable Lawrence MacAulay, Minister of Veterans Affairs and Associate Minister of National Defence, today issued the following statement in support of Bell Let’s Talk Day:
“The COVID-19 pandemic has forced each of us to navigate through uncertain and undeniably stressful times. The Bell Let’s Talk campaign provides us with an excellent opportunity to open up about the challenges we have faced this past year, and is a reminder of how important our connection with others is. That is why the theme for this year’s campaign is ‘When it comes to mental health, now more than ever, every action counts.’
“Today our Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) members continue to uphold the proud legacy of our Veterans through their work in complex and stressful environments in missions around the globe. Last year, many were called upon in the fight against COVID-19, where they made a tremendous impact, particularly for some of Canada’s most vulnerable. We are grateful to them all, Veterans and current CAF members alike, for their dedication and service to our great nation.
“In recognizing the sacrifices made by our CAF members and Veterans, we must also be ready to support them when occupational stress injuries or mental health issues arise as a result of their service. No one is immune: mental health challenges can affect anyone at any time. Yet we know that unfortunately, the stigma around mental illness can prevent people from coming forward with their own struggles. We want serving CAF members, Veterans and their families, who may be experiencing mental health issues, to know that they are not alone and that resources and support are available to them.
“Continuous improvements to mental health services for the Defence Team community, including serving CAF members, Veterans, and their families, is an ongoing priority. This includes partnering with Bell Canada on Bell Let’s Talk Day, which celebrates its 11th anniversary today. The Department of National Defence (DND) and the CAF are longstanding partners with Bell on this annual event to encourage a national conversation about mental health. Together, since 2013, we have focused on building awareness, acceptance, and action in mental health, while helping to end the stigma surrounding mental illness.
“Today on Bell Let’s Talk Day, Veterans Affairs Canada is hosting a virtual discussion between Veterans, family members and mental health professionals. We encourage you to tune in via Zoom to discuss how to maintain your and your family’s mental well-being during these difficult times. To register for the event, please visit the webinar registration site.
“DND/CAF will also host virtual mental health question and answer sessions with the Deputy Minister, Vice Chief of the Defence Staff, and other members of the Defence Team who will share their professional and personal experiences regarding mental health. These sessions will be posted on CAF social media channels (Facebook and Instagram).
“Let’s talk. More importantly, let’s propel these words into actions, whether big or small. We encourage you to get involved any way you can. The simple action of opening up about our own stories-at work, at home, virtually, or with friends-may allow others to share their pain. By helping others and encouraging them to seek help, we may also begin to help ourselves. Today, for every text message, mobile and long distance call made by Bell customers, every tweet using #BellLetsTalk, every view of the Bell Let’s Talk Day video on social media, and use of the Bell Let’s Talk Facebook frame or Snapchat filter, Bell will donate five cents to support Canadian mental health programs.
“This past year has been unlike any other. It has been uniquely challenging for each of us, in different ways. However, we know the impact one can have on the lives of others by reaching out, sharing our stories, and offering support. We encourage all CAF members, Veterans, and their families to have frank, open conversations about mental health. We can all make a difference in someone’s life simply by listening with kindness and compassion. Because when it comes to mental health, now more than ever, every action counts.”