We should be talking about mental illness every single day. For now, we’ll take what we can get.
In 2010, Canadian telecommunications company Bell launched a campaign called “Let’s Talk Day,” which encouraged people across the globe to, well, talk about mental health.
The National Alliance on Mental Illness says about 1 in 5 adults in the U.S. will experience some form of mental illness in a given year. 1 in 25 will suffer from a serious mental illness that severely interferes with their ability to live their daily life. (Bell itself claims similar numbers)
Whatever the exact prevalence of mental health issues is, it usually feels like much less. After all, you can’t see things like depression, PTSD, or eating disorders.
And those who suffer from them often don’t feel safe enough to share.
On Jan. 25, using the hashtag #BellLetsTalk, people from all over the world once again shared their thoughts, hopes, fears, and personal stories around mental health.
Bell promises to donate 5 cents for every use of the hashtag to mental health services in Canada, and as of last year it has committed a total of over $100 million to the cause.
But the real payoff has been in the conversations and stories that flowed out from behind closed lips and into the world.
Here are the 14 best tweets from Bell Let’s Talk Day, from powerhouse celebs to everyday people glad to finally get it off their chest.
1. When Ellen is on board, your campaign has officially become a movement.
2. Oh yeah, and the hunky prime minister of Canada was down, too. No big deal.
3. From there, things really took off. Message #1? You should not have to be ashamed of who you are.
4. Hear that? Remember the statistics? You are definitely not alone.
5. Yep, what she said.
6. And hey, friends and allies, we have a big part to play here.
7. The first thing we can learn to do is show some empathy and understanding.
8. Things like this help.
9. When a pro hockey player says you’re strong, you ought to believe it.
10. Hockey players actually showed up big time for this, which is awesome.
11. And so did this former professional wrestler.
12. But the real stars were the regular people who had a story to tell, like Kyle.
13. Or who just wanted to let people know they were there to listen, like Miriam.
14. But in the end, as inspiring as this all was, if you only take one thing away, let it be this.
As of publication time, Bell had officially counted over 112 million social interactions using the hashtag.
That works out to more than $3 million in total donations, and even more importantly, that is a whole lot of conversation around a topic that sorely needs it.
Look out for #BellLetsTalk day again next January, or better yet, try to live its values the other 364 days of the year — whether that means mustering up the bravery to talk about your mental health or finding the strength to listen.