In the primetime special, host Marci Ien speaks candidly with several Canadians about their personal experiences with mental illness. On Bell Let’s Talk Day, Jan. 31, you can talk, text, tweet, and join in on social media to help end the stigma around mental illness and drive Bell’s funding for Canadian mental health
Toronto native Beth Beattie sharing her story with IN THEIR OWN WORDS: A LET’S TALK DAY SPECIAL host Marci Ien.
TORONTO (January 17, 2018) – In support of Bell Let’s Talk Day 2018, THE SOCIAL’s Marci Ien hosts IN THEIR OWN WORDS: A BELL LET’S TALK DAY SPECIAL. The new, one-hour primetime special, premiering Wednesday, Jan. 31 at 7 p.m. ET/MT on CTV and CTV Two, features real stories from Canadians living with mental health challenges.
Filmed in Halifax, Regina, Iqaluit, and Toronto, Ien travels to each city to be welcomed into the homes of Canadians coping with mental illness. Ien listens to their stories and discusses the impact those journeys have had on each individual, and those around them.
“In tandem with Bell Let’s Talk Day, our primetime special shines a national spotlight on mental illness and how it affects individuals and ultimately all of us,” said Ien. “From the East Coast to the West, Central Canada to the North, everyone I spoke with opened up about their journey. I’ve been truly touched by each one of these Canadians and I think we can learn a lot from all of them. I’m delighted to help introduce these voices to the country.”
“IN THEIR OWN WORDS: A BELL LET’S TALK DAY SPECIAL facilitates the ongoing and vital conversation about mental health,” said Nanci MacLean, Vice-President and Head, Bell Media Studios. “I am impressed by these Canadians who are speaking out on this national health concern and I am grateful for their authenticity and transparency in sharing their personal stories with us.”
The following friends of Bell Let’s Talk and their stories are featured in the special, in alphabetical order:
LOCATION: Toronto, Ontario
STORY: In 2002, Beth Beattie was diagnosed with bipolar disorder. For many years she was closeted about her illness, discussing it only with her closest friends and family. It is only recently that she began to see how liberating it is to share her story more broadly, which has allowed her to experience the greatest freedom of her life. Her spirit, long suppressed, is soaring higher than ever.
LOCATION: Iqaluit, Nunavut
STORY: A Métis and openly transgender teen living in Nunavut, Kieran Drachenberg shares his experience to help other Northerners struggling with mental illness. Diagnosed with depression, anxiety, and most recently borderline personality disorder, Drachenberg is a leader in promoting youth mental wellbeing and bravely shares his experiences in hopes that others will reach out for the help they need.
LOCATION: Bedford, Nova Scotia
STORY: Allison Garber was diagnosed in her early 20s with generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) and obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). She struggled her entire life, but didn’t appreciate the severity of her issues until she began an internship in Toronto and her symptoms began to rapidly escalate. She reached out for help and went back home to live closer to her family after her diagnosis, where after some time, Allison was able to manage the impact of OCD and GAD on the quality of her life. It wasn’t until her son Hugh was diagnosed with autism at the age of four that her family noticed behaviours returning and Garber, once again, asked her doctor for help.
Lesley and Matt Kelly
LOCATION: Regina, Saskatchewan
STORY: Lesley and Matt talk about how they’re trying to change the stigma around mental illness within the farming community. In an industry relying heavily on factors outside of human control and often carried out in isolation, the pressures of farming can take their toll. The couple hope to encourage others in the farming community to speak openly about mental health.
LOCATION: Toronto, Ontario
STORY: Jayson Pham was 15 when he was struck by a car while crossing the street near his school, suffering a traumatic brain injury and damage to his hip and knee. Following the accident, he felt intense sadness and isolation and was diagnosed with depression and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Now 22 and studying social work at Carleton University, Pham talks about PTSD at more than 25 events a year.
LOCATION: North Preston, Nova Scotia
STORY: Tyler Simmonds speaks openly about his experiences living with mental illness and emphasizes the importance of talking in order to get well. With a history of severe depression and anxiety, Simmonds is now a motivational speaker, committed to telling is story to as many people as possible to inspire hope in others.
LOCATION: Toronto, Ontario
STORY: Paulette Walker was a victim of sexual abuse and turned to drugs to numb her pain. After 20 years of using and dealing, she was busted by an undercover cop. Instead of a long-term prison sentence, she was told about Toronto Drug Treatment Court (TDTC), which focuses on rehabilitation instead of imprisonment. In 2008, she became Canada’s only peer support worker in the TDTC and now helps guide other addicts through their recovery.
Bell Let’s Talk Day 2018 takes place on Wednesday, Jan. 31. The Bell Let’s Talk Day conversation works to end the stigma of mental illness while also driving Bell’s funding for Canadian mental health programs. At no extra cost to participants, Bell donates 5 cents to support Canadian mental health programs for every:
- Text and talk: Every text message, mobile and long distance call made by Bell Canada, Bell Aliant and Bell MTS customers
- Twitter: Every tweet using #BellLetsTalk and Bell Let’s Talk Day video view
- Facebook: Every view of the Bell Let’s Talk Day video at Facebook.com/BellLetsTalk and use of the Bell Let’s Talk frame
- Instagram: Every Bell Let’s Talk Day video view
- Snapchat: Every use of the Bell Let’s Talk filter and video view
Bell Let’s Talk Day 2017 set all new records with 131,705,010 messages, growing Bell’s funding for Canadian mental health by $6,585,250.50. #BellLetsTalk was Canada’s top hashtag in 2017, and is now the most used Twitter hashtag ever in Canada.
With approximately 729,065,654 interactions by Canadians over the last 7 Bell Let’s Talk Days, Bell’s total commitment to mental health, including an original $50-million anchor donation in 2010, has risen to $86,504,429.05. Bell expects its donation commitment to reach at least $100 million in 2020.
Bell’s donations are made at no extra charge to Bell Let’s Talk Day participants, though normal long distance or text charges, if any, apply.