Bell Let's Talk and Brain Canada have awarded a total of $4,190,000 to five teams working on mental health-related research projects.
The funding comes through the Bell Let's Talk-Brain Canada Mental Health Research Program, a joint initiative between the carrier and non-profit, with support from Health Canada.
More information on the projects can be found here.
Additionally, Bell's latest annual "Bell Let's Talk Day" is today, January 26th. As in previous years, the carrier pledges to donate 5¢ to mental health initiatives for "every applicable text, call, tweet or TikTok video using #BellLetsTalk, social media video view and use of our Facebook frame or Snapchat lens." Last year, $7 million was raised. The general "Let's Talk" goal, per the carrier, is to break "the stigma" surrounding mental health.
It should be noted, however, that the initiative has generated criticism, especially in recent years. Some have said the corporate advertising around that day, on top of feeling cynical, can lead them to feel more alone. Others have pointed out that the campaign only highlights certain major aspects of mental health, while leaving others, like borderline personality disorder and schizophrenia, aren't addressed. The unique mental health struggles faced by racial minorities also go unmentioned.
Beyond that, some Canadians have criticized Bell for how its treated its own employees. One New Brunswick Bell employee said she was fired her mental health issues, while several other workers said aggressive sales targets led to vomiting, panic attacks and anxiety. The company also came under fire for laying off hundreds of people last year -- less than one year into the pandemic, no less.