The world’s most engaged conversation around mental health is happening on social media, telephone, and various events. Bell Let’s Talk day is donating 5 cents to mental health for every hashtag, share, service provided text message and phonecall. It is also celebrating 9 years of building and creating awareness around mental health and related issues.

Many cities across Canada are raising flags in support of mental health today, and Markham is no exception. They held a flag raising ceremony this morning attended by Khalid Usman, veteran Ward 7 Councillor; Alan Ho. Ward 2 Councillor, and Mayor Frank Scarpitti (see pic).

The national awareness campaign makes engaging up to 36 million people in a matter of seconds on the issue of mental health a possibility. Bell Let’s Talk Day is a day of intense interaction at all levels of the spectrum, with many hearing from people they have never heard from before.

Stories are being shared by community leaders and public figures on Facebook, for example, and messages are being sent for the first time. Bell has also made it easy with the distribution of a 10-second video that generates a 5 cent donation per view.

The activity on Twitter is just as widespread, with public figures, politicians community leaders and the general public tweeting info and updates.

Instagram and Snapchat are also in on the drive to generate donations with the latter offering a #BellLetsTalk Day filter. The Friends of Bell Let’s Talk is another facet of the campaign, bringing together 42 spokespeople to share their stories.

“I am so honoured to be part of the Friends of Bell Let’s Talk campaign and grateful for the positive response from Canadians as we share our experiences with mental illness,” said Dr. Manon Charbonneau, a psychiatrist who tells her story of depression alongside 40 other Friends of Bell Let’s Talk as part of this year’s awareness campaign. “Mental illness does not discriminate – it touches us all. I look forward to being part of the conversation tomorrow and encourage all Canadians to join in to build on the progress we’re all making in mental health.”

The Friends of Bell Let’s Talk join the Bell Let’s Talk team that gets people everywhere talking about mental health, including spokespeople Howie Mandel, Marie-Soleil Dion, Michael Landsberg, Michel Mpambara, Stefie Shock, Mary Walsh and Étienne Boulay, and community ambassadors Toronto Maple Leafs head coach Mike Babcock, pro golfer Andrew Jensen, comedian Kevin Breel, retired CFL player Shea Emry, singer-songwriter Séan McCann, Royal Canadian Navy veteran Bruno Guévremont, comedian Jessica Holmes, musician Florence K and actress Véronique Bannon.

Yesterday, Parliament Hill hosted a Mental Health Event with Mary Deacon and other Members of Parliament and Senators to discuss how they can support the conversation.

With nearly every major municipality across the country participating in Bell Let’s Talk Day, interactions have reached 867,449,649 since 2011. This years (two-day) awareness campaign is expected to bring that number to 1 billion.

Click HERE for more information on how you can get involved in #BellLet’sTalk Day.