Today is, unless you’ve been living under a social media rock (and if so, say hi to my dad) – Bell Let’s Talk day. For every text message sent or long distance call made by a Bell subscriber, they will donate 5 cents to fund mental health initiatives across Canada. They’ll also contribute 5 cents if you share their image on Facebook, or use the hashtag #BellLetsTalk on Twitter – and here is where the uproar and backlash has come from.

How dare Bell intrude upon someone’s Twitter feed? These greedy corporate monsters could have simply donated a few million dollars and not said anything nor sought any publicity and left the Twitterverse alone.

I have seen people say, and perhaps rightly so, that Bell didn’t have to include their name in this hashtag. They could have used whatever else and it would have been equally as effective. Another person boycotting the Twitter campaign made a great point, saying that if you want to really make a difference in mental health issues across the country, go cut a cheque yourself. But what if you can’t? What if you’re not in a position financially to make a donation right now? Others simply view it as a corporate PR grab and “shameful” that it’s attached to such an important issue, and still others are mad that celebrities and media figures are showing their support online, as Bell of course is a media giant in this country.

Fair enough – everyone is entitled to their own opinion and also to share that opinion. In that light, here’s my opinion: Get over yourselves.

First off, I’ll be honest. I don’t have nor can claim to understand mental illness. I’ve known many people, however, that have suffered a number of mental illnesses. I’ve seen the changes that have occurred in who they were, and I can’t express my gratitude enough to their family and other friends that supported them, the doctors and counsellors that treated them, and the systems in place that made it possible for them to get help.

Last year, Bell Let’s Talk day raised $3,926,014.20 (source: to support Mental Health issues. This day has the endorsement of the Canadian Mental Health Association so clearly the funds are being allocated appropriately. More importantly, and the point that I think everyone is missing in all of this, is they’re raising awareness. They’re encouraging people to talk about it. To ask others if they are okay. To come forward and seek the help needed. How do you put a dollar figure on that?

Bottom line? Yes, Bell could have done all of this without plastering their name all over everything. Fair point. But look at it this way: They’re the ones doing this. Not you, not I, not your amazing Twitter account with three thousand of your closest followers. This company took the time and effort to put all of this together, and in the end they’re also the ones cutting a hefty cheque. As of this moment (11:33am, PST), there have been 33,027,819 tweets, texts and long distance calls. That’s $1,651,390.95 already. Let me know when any of you people up in arms about this campaign are ready to sign your name to THAT cheque, and I’ll politely shake your hand and give fair credit where it’s due. In the meantime, zip it. Yes they’re getting some publicity out of this, but they’re also the ones doing the work. Imagine the (wo)man hours that went into organizing all of this. Imagine the sheer amount of time and energy it takes to put this together across all of the Bell media outlets, across their social and online networks, to track the activity, and to even distribute the money raised! I wouldn’t know where to start.

My point is this: If all of these branded tweets and over the top messages on TV and radio today allow just one person to feel safe and comfortable enough to come forward to either help someone or get help themselves, this is all worth it. If the money raised helps make someone else’s life better, this was worth it.

I’ll be doing what I can today to help raise awareness and funds to support this. If you or someone you know may have a mental illness, please contact the Canadian Mental Health Association at – or if you’re a child, visit, or call 1-800-668-6868.