Bell simplifies the conversation on Let’s Talk Day

The "countable" video for this year's mental health initiative zeroes in on encouraging people to take care of themselves, as well as others.

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In 2010, Bell launched an initiative to shatter taboo and get Canadians talking about mental health. This year, in its 12th iteration, the “Let’s Talk” campaign is going for a simpler message.

“Instead of being prescriptive and telling people how to help as we have done in the past, this year the aim was to say, ‘You’re already doing so much just by being there and listening,’” says Nicolas Dion, partner and CD at Lg2, who has worked with Bell on the annual campaign every year since the first. “We’re doing a lot, and sometimes, [helping] is a lot easier than you think.”

That simple message is at the heart of the campaign, which launched earlier this month with spots meant to encourage people to “keep listening” and “keep being there.” But this year’s campaign – which culminates today – is also about encouraging people to take care of themselves as well, Dion says.

This year’s “countable” video – which debuts on Let’s Talk Day every year and translates into five cents donated by Bell for every view – features a long and varied list of celebrities from Kenny G and Vanna White to Alessia Cara and Michael Bublé. To bring the “taking care of yourself” message home, each person discusses the things they do to take care of their mental health. With a variety of approaches – coming from people who have a range of different experiences with their mental health – the video is meant to have something that will resonate with everyone.

“We talk about being there for someone else, but also, you have to be there for yourself as well,” he explains. “Your own mental health – and what you can do to take time for you – is part of the mix, too.”

Since its launch, Let’s Talk has raised more than $120 million for mental health causes. When it started, fundraising was directly tied to long distance calls and text messages. The campaign has since evolved to include social media traffic as well.

This year’s iteration of Let’s Talk Day incorporates social platforms Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Snapchat, TikTok, Twitter and YouTube.

As with the platform, the conversation around mental health has also evolved over the past decade, Dion says – and he believes Let’s Talk has played a role in driving that conversation.

“A decade ago when we started this, the question was, ‘How do you talk about one thing that people don’t want to talk about?’ It was really taboo at the time,” he says. “That’s something I’ve seen change in the past decade … The way we discuss things, and the way young people talk about mental health – seeing that needle shift has been very rewarding.”

Media Experts handled the buy for the campaign.