Bell Lets Talk Day raises money and questions

    IMG_6206 2STU’s Mental Health Awareness Week took place alongside Bell Let’s Talk Day. A day dedicated to raising awareness and money for mental health and raised over $6 million.
    Brianna Matchett, STUSU vice president of student life, thinks instead of talking about the stigma around mental health, they should also focus on the issue of mental health itself.
    “I think that was important at the beginning of this new mental health revival movement, but it’s been going on, Bell Let’s Talk Day, I think this is the fifth or sixth year,” said Matchett. “We get it, there’s a stigma, why can’t we talk about the issue itself?”
    Bell Let’s Talk has raised $100 million since it began in 2010, but Matchett also thinks that the support for the day may not be genuine.
    “This was more evident to me in high school than in university, but there were people who bullied me extensively and then would go all out on Bell Let’s Talk,” said Matchett. “I just find it really disheartening and almost disingenuous. I’m really glad it’s happening and that people are willing to talk one day a year, but what about the other 364?”
    Matchett has been working to make mental health a focus on campus throughout the year, with events such as art therapy, distress days and dog therapy.
    “Last year we had a really good mental health awareness week but I wanted to augment it,” said Matchett. “What I’ve been trying to do this year is have one mental health awareness event happening per month, and if the Student Union doesn’t have the capacity for that then any other student group that is having a mental health event we would promote theirs.”
    Matchett has been living with mental health issues since she was 13, which is part of the reason that mental health awareness is so important to her. She says that there is one simple thing you can do to help people with mental health issues.
    “This is going to sound really simple and maybe a little lame, but listen,” said Matchett. “Don’t even talk. If someone says I need to tell you something or is looking for someone to share their struggle, they aren’t looking for advice. One of the best things you can say is ‘I have faith in you.’ Just being willing to listen is huge for someone who maybe has had a door slammed in their face one too many times.”