By Samantha Richard, Western Communications
Blue toques and speech bubbles on Wednesday, Jan. 30, will mark an important opportunity for conversation – a day dedicated to checking in on each other’s mental health. These ‘hats and chats’ are visible markers for Bell Let’s Talk Day.
This is Western’s sixth year of participating in the event, which began nationwide in 2010.
Through the hashtag #BellLetsTalk, Bell and Canadians have helped raise $100 million in support of mental-health programs, and have reduced the stigma of talking about mental wellness.
Western’s theme for the day is, “We all have a role to play.”
To highlight the services and supports available on campus, Western is providing community members with various ways to get involved on campus, and to be both visible and vocal.
The men’s and women’s varsity basketball teams will host games against Laurier at 6 p.m. Jan. 30 at Alumni Hall, where the first 200 people will receive a free Bell Let’s Talk toque. (Admission is free to students; faculty and staff can claim free tickets at by clicking here.)
Throughout the day, numerous varsity athletes, other students and staff will also be sporting toques to convey the message that mental health is worth talking about, and that help is available.
Student staff from the Wellness Education Centre will be in the University Community Centre (UCC) Atrium throughout the day. There, staff will hand out another 600 free toques. Visitors to the Atrium will also be encouraged to fill out speech bubbles with stress-busting messages to their peers.
The community is also invited to join the conversation online by using the #BellLetsTalk. (Organizers urge participants to tag Western’s Twitter handle @WesternU and Instagram @westernuniversity) account.
Bell donates five cents from every tweet or retweet towards mental-health services, including maintaining and staffing its talk/listen line through the Kids Help Phone.
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IF YOU NEED HELP (ON CAMPUS):
Students may book an appointment with Psychological Services (519-661-3031), Student Health Services (519-661-3030), the Wellness Education Centre (519-661-2111), or stop by the Peer Support Centre at UCC 256. A full description of services and connections can be found on the Health and Wellness website.
IF YOU NEED HELP (IN THE COMMUNITY):
Kids Help Phone 1-800-668-6868 or live chat at www.kidshelpphone.ca or text CONNECT to 686868.
Reach Out 24/7 (519-433-2023).
First Nations and Inuit Hope for Wellness Help Line (1-855-242-3310).
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