Across campus today, you’ll find staff, faculty, and students dressed in blue, compassionate sayings posted beside open office doors, and a community of people dedicating the majority of their conversations over the course of the day to one topic.
If you’re unfamiliar with it, Bell Let’s Talk Day
is an annual initiative to not only raise money to support mental health services in communities across Canada, but also to raise public awareness regarding mental health and mental illnesses, and help to destigmatize conversations and public opinions surrounding mental health and illnesses. The event is organized by Bell, one of the largest telecommunications companies in Canada, and takes place on a variety of platforms online, as well as through in-person initiatives, as can be seen around St. Jerome’s University today.
The initiative encourages everyone to have conversations about mental health, by pledging to donate five cents to mental health service providers across Canada for every tweet using the hashtag #BellLetsTalk, every use of the Bell Let’s Talk Facebook frame or Snapchat filter, every text message or call from a Bell mobile phone, and every view of the official Bell Let’s Talk Day video on Facebook or Instagram.
In the eight years that it has existed, the Bell Let’s Talk Day initiative has made a significant impact, financially assisting important mental health support services
, as well as progressing the conversation regarding, and understanding of, the immeasurably important topic of mental health.
Mental health pervades every aspect of society; everyone has a mental health that needs to be nurtured and should not be neglected. As a student, as a Residence Don, and as someone who has learned more about their own mental health because of conversations like those started by Bell Let’s Talk, I have come to better understand this point; and nowhere have I ever encountered a better understanding and application of this point than at St. Jerome’s University. It is incredibly impactful to be a part of a community, like the one that exists at SJU, where compassion and understanding inform peoples interactions, conversations like these continue year round, and the effort that is made on Bell Let’s Talk Day to create a conversation about mental health is also intentionally made in everything we do.
At SJU, an effort is made every day, in every interaction that occurs, to destigmatize mental health and those living with mental illnesses, and create an environment where members of the SJU community feel comfortable discussing their mental health and accessing the supports they require in order to nurture it. After today, at SJU, the office doors remain open, the staff remain always willing and available to support and interact with students, and the conversation continues.
No matter what school you end up at, the transition to university can be a complicated process filled with unforeseen challenges that can greatly affect your mental health, especially if you feel as if you have to neglect caring for your mental health in order to keep up. At SJU, know that you don’t have to neglect self-care in order to be successful, and that the importance of your mental health is understood and emphasized above anything else
. At SJ, you matter. #SJUMatter