The game plan: tackle the stigma around mental illness

Why is this important?

Many post-secondary students will face a mental health challenge, which can interrupt their studies, affect academic performance and negatively impact their day-to-day lives. Post-secondary student-athletes are equally, if not more likely, than their peers to face mental health challenges. These young people face immense pressures, including performing in school and sport, managing finances and planning for the future, and staying connected to friends and family. Often they struggle to get help because of the stigma surrounding mental health and illness in sports. As a result, the expectation to be mentally tough keeps many student-athletes silent and isolated. [source: SAMHI Student-Athlete Mental Health Initiative]

The student-athlete initiative

53 Canadian universities and four university sport conferences, along with more than 20,000 student-athletes and coaches, have teamed up with Bell Let’s Talk to end the stigma around mental illness.

Athletes around the country participated in a mental health video series and are hosting Bell Let’s Talk events at 100 university sport games, are starting a mental health Thunderclap and are sharing pictures on social media with the hashtag #OneTeamForMentalHealth and #BellLetsTalk.

The Student-Athlete Mental Health Initiative (SAMHI) is a charitable organization dedicated to promoting wellness and mental health, and supporting student-athletes who may suffer from a mental health problem or illness. SAMHI Campus Teams are volunteering at sport games in January to promote the Bell Let’s Talk student-athlete initiative and encouraging a conversation about mental health with fans and athletes.

About Bell Let’s Talk Day

On Bell Let’s Talk Day, Bell will contribute 5 cents to mental health related initiatives for every text message sent, and mobile and long distance call made by Bell and Bell Aliant customers, every tweet and Instagram post using #BellLetsTalk, view of the official Bell Let’s Talk Facebook video and use of the Bell Let’s Talk geofilter on Snapchat.

Check out the universities participating in the Bell Let’s Talk initiative.

Atlantic University Sport
Canada West Universities Athletics Association
Ontario University Athletics
Réseau du sport étudiant du Québec