Bell Let's Act

We’re roughly one month out from Bell Let’s Talk. 

How is everyone doing?

Chances are that if you require professional support for your mental health needs, very little has changed. The primary focus of awareness campaigns such as these are to remove the stigma around mental illness. However, individuals with mental illness are often way past being concerned about the societal stigmas, and are much more concerned with the lack of options, services and programs available to help them get better and live healthy lives.

If you’d like to dig further into this topic, we’d recommend that you read this piece from Phil Moscovitch. In the meantime, let’s talk about what we at Community Living Centres think is needed.


Individuals with mental illness are often way past being concerned about the societal stigmas

mental health

We need more beds in hospitals for both the short term and long term admissions. We need hospitals to have enough resources that individuals leave them with plans and support in place so they don’t find themselves right back in crisis. This not only means more social workers, nurses, psychiatrists, and occupational therapists on those units, it also means that there needs to be more community based programs for the individuals to be connected to. This would allow the mental health specialists to not only help people get mentally stable, but also to help people get integrated and involved in their own healthy lives. 

We need more spaces where individuals can live that are supported by mental health professionals. Supported apartment programs, small options, and other community based options are all wonderful programs that need to be expanded on so that more people can access them, and so that those who live there have enough resources to gain skills and social support networks so that there is a possibility that they might one day be ready to move out of them.

mental health medication

We need the medications that people require to be made affordable. Often times people with mental illness will have other challenges that all of society face, such as addiction, obesity, heart disease, diabetes, and simply cannot afford the healthy foods, gym memberships, or nicotine patches as they are unable to secure employment while they struggle day to day with their mental illness. Funding for medications is not enough, there needs to be enough money to allow people to live healthy lives.

We need more programs in place that will help identify and support mental illness as early as possible. This means schools should have better access to specialists and programs that will help youth get ahead of their mental health struggles, and start building healthy support networks that can be in place for life. 

We desperately need more support for families. Far too often at Community Living Centres we meet young adults who have already become estranged from their families as their unmet needs and unchecked symptoms of illness such as emotional outbursts, paranoia, hallucinations, and delusions have worn down the families and broken them into pieces. We need more community nurses and social workers that can work with families to identify illness, support collaborative problem solving, and make referrals to therapy, work programs, and social integration programs.


This year Bell raised $7.2 million dollars, and have done well to add to the resources of mental health programs across Canada. What they need to raise now is not awareness of stigma, but of the challenges being faced by those with mental illness.

community living

What we need is for people to care about what is available for those with mental illness from a clinical capacity. What we need is for people to push government to do more on a community level. What we need is for people to ensure that government knows that the way they address mental health will impact votes. 

Ending stigma is a nice goal, but helping people get back to healthy lives after suffering a mental illness is a great one.