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Press release from CNW Group

Bell Aliant supports second annual Bell Let's Talk campaign

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Bell Aliant supports second annual Bell Let's Talk campaign09:39 EST Wednesday, January 18, 2012Advertising and awareness campaign invites Atlantic Canadians to join the conversation about mental health and show their support on February 8HALIFAX, Jan. 18, 2012 /CNW/ - Bell Aliant has partnered with Bell again this year to launch its nation-wide Let's Talk campaign inviting Canadians to join the conversation about mental health. Building on the hugely successful 2011 Bell Let's Talk Day, this year's campaign will again focus on reducing the stigma around mental illness. The second annual Bell Let's Talk Day takes place on February 8.For every text message sent and every long distance call made by Bell and Bell Aliant customers on February 8, Bell will donate 5 cents to programs dedicated to mental health (regular long distance and text message charges apply)."We are very proud to partner with Bell for Let's Talk Day," said Karen Sheriff, President and CEO of Bell Aliant. "Last year's numbers prove to us that our focus on joining the conversation is working and that talking openly about mental illness is the first step to breaking down the stigma attached to it."Starting this week, a major national and Atlantic TV, print, radio and outdoor campaign will run through February 8, focused on Clara Hughes' world-famous smile and her own story of depression."Canadians really stepped up to talk about mental health on last year's very successful Bell Let's Talk Day, and the conversation has only continued to grow since then," said Ms. Hughes, Canada's six-time Olympic medalist and the smile at the forefront of Bell Let's Talk. "Open and honest discussion of how mental illness impacts each of us is crucial to driving the awareness, acceptance and action needed to make a real difference in mental health. So let's talk Canada!"In Atlantic Canada, a group of people have agreed to share their compelling stories about living with mental illness. Also, a panel of subject matter experts has been assembled and will play an important role in addressing mental health issues in this region. They include:Dr. Alexa Bagnell, Associate Professor, Dalhousie Dept. of Psychiatry, Child and Adolescent Psychiatrist, IWK Treatment of Anxiety Group (Halifax, Nova Scotia)Dr. Pam Forsythe, Psychiatrist and chairperson of MindCare (Saint John, New Brunswick)Dr. Nadeem Dada, Psychiatrist (Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island)Dr. Nizar Ladha, Psychiatrist - Associate Professor, Memorial University. General and forensic psychiatry (St. John's, Newfoundland & Labrador)"I meet young people every day who are struggling with the kinds of issues Bell Let's Talk Day is all about", said Dr. Alexa Bagnell, psychiatrist and one of the founders of the Treatment of Anxiety Group for children and adolescents at the IWK Health Centre. "Getting kids and teens to talk about their mental health empowers them to become proactive and seek the help they need."Mental illness is increasingly threatening the lives of our children; with Canada's youth suicide rate being the third highest in the industrialized world. For Canadians aged 15 to 24, suicide is the second leading cause of death.In 2011, Bell and Bell Aliant customers answered the call in support of mental health. With a total of 66,079,236 text messages and long distance calls made by Bell and Bell Aliant customers on Bell Let's Talk Day, Bell's donation of 5 cents per message and long distance call meant the company gave $3,303,961.80 in addition to the $50 million already committed to Canadian mental health initiatives.In 2011, Atlantic Canadian organizations including Halifax's Laing House, the Eating Disorder Foundation of Newfoundland & Labrador, Health PEI and Mindcare New Brunswick all received funding from the Bell Let's Talk initiative for the important work they do in making a difference in the lives of people every day."Mental illness touches one in five Canadians and no one should tackle it alone," said Lisa Merrithew, VP Corporate Affairs, Bell Aliant. "We believe that corporate Canada can play a key role in increasing awareness and helping to make treatment in our communities more accessible. Working together we can improve the lives of Canadians and help reduce the over $50 billion annual cost of mental health to our economy."This year Atlantic Canadians can join the conversation on Facebook, Twitter and at bell.ca/letstalk by posting comments, questions and a smile of their own, while learning more about mental health resources, the Bell Mental Health Initiative and the ways we can begin our own conversations at home and in the workplace.To learn more, please visit bell.ca/letstalk.About Bell AliantBell Aliant (TSX: BA) is one of North America's largest regional communications providers and the first company in Canada to cover an entire city with fibre-to-the-home (FTTH) technology with its FibreOP™ services. Through its operating entities it serves customers in six Canadian provinces with innovative information, communication and technology services including voice, data, Internet, video and value-added business solutions. Bell Aliant's employees deliver the highest quality of customer service, choice and convenience.For further information: Christine Manore Bell Aliant 1 888 845-3171 Christine.manore@bellaliant.ca