January 30th is Bell Let’s Talk Day

Posted on Tuesday, January 29th, 2019

Written by Sarah Joosse, Wellness@Work Coordinator

What does mental health mean to you?
What does mental health mean to you?

Get involved at U of G 

Drop-by the University Centre between 11am-4pm to sign a canvas wall and take a picture for social media using the hashtag #UofGMentalHealth and #BellLetsTalk.

Watch U of G's video on Bell Let's Talk Day and join the conversation.  Learn more on the Facebook event page.

On Bell Let’s Talk Day, for every text, mobile and long distance call made on the Bell network, tweet using #BellLetsTalk, social media video view, or use of the Facebook or Snapchat filter, Bell will contribute 5 cents to Canadian mental health programs.

Language Matters

Talking about mental illness is not always easy. Mental illness can affect people of all ages, with any social status, and from any familial, ethnic or economic background.

Bell Let’s Talk Day is one opportunity for you to get involved with a community initiative to raise awareness about mental illness, reduce stigma and help contribute to mental health programs.  Educate yourself on the appropriate language to use when speaking about mental illness by exploring further the terms below:

What is mental health?

The World Health Organization (WHO) defines mental health as, “a state of well-being in which every individual realizes his or her own potential, can cope with the normal stresses of life, can work productively and fruitfully, and is able to make a contribution to her or his community.”  As expressed by the Canadian Mental Health Association, “mental health is critical to how we feel, think, act and interact with the world”.

It is important to recognize that health is “not merely the absence of disease or infirmity” (WHO), but an opportunity to thrive and be our best selves. 

What is mental illness?

The Canadian Mental Health Association defines mental illnesses as, “health problems that affect the way we think about ourselves, relate to others, and interact with the world around us.  They affect our thoughts, feelings, and behaviours. Mental illnesses can disrupt a person’s life or create challenges, but with the right supports, a person can get back on a path to recovery and wellness.”


Regardless if you experience a mental illness or not, you can be “languishing” or “flourishing” (Keyes, 2002).  Through the Wellness@Work initiative, we hope to help create a workplace that encourages you to take small steps towards more optimal mental health, to live and feel your best. 

Tips for Respectful Conversations 

  • Put the person first to be respectful and empowering (i.e. person with bipolar disorder or person with a mental illness) 
  • Become informed about mental illnesses 
  • Speak up about stigma 
  • Talk openly about mental illnesses 


  • Referring to someone by their illness 
  • Being judgmental 
  • Staying silent when inappropriate jokes or misinformation are shared 
  • Treating mental illnesses as something to be embarrassed about 

Source: MediaSmarts. (n.d.) Teacher Training Guide.
Retrieved from http://mediasmarts.ca/sites/default/files/pdfs/Lets_Talk_Teacher_Training_Guide.pdf.

What supports are available at the University?

Visit the Wellness@Work website for a list of wellness resources available for faculty and staff: https://www.uoguelph.ca/wellnessatwork/wellness-resources

Regular wellness workshops and events are also posted on the website:  https://www.uoguelph.ca/wellnessatwork/events

The Employee and Family Assistance Program provides counselling 24 hours per day, seven days per week through the University's EFAP provider, Homewood Employee Health, toll-free at 1-800-663-1142. Assistance to access EFAP can also be arranged through Occupational Health & Wellness at extension 52133.

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