It is time once again to talk about mental health.

Saskatoon Health Region is partnering with CTV Saskatoon to promote Bell Let’s Talk Day on January 27.

Bell Let’s Talk is a multi-year charitable program dedicated to mental health. Saskatoon Health Region is partnering with CTV in Saskatoon for the third year in a row to provide information about mental health and addictions services offered in the region through features and live interviews on CTV Saskatoon Morning Live, CTV Saskatoon News at Noon, CTV Saskatoon News at Six CTV News at 11:30 p.m. and at www.ctvsaskatoon.ca between January 25 and 28.

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“This year, we are profiling some great services that we offer in Saskatoon,” stated Tracy Muggli, Saskatoon Health Region’s director of mental health and addictions services. “We’re thankful for this initiative, as it really provides us with an opportunity to talk about mental health, and about what’s available to those who need help but don’t know how to access the right support. I believe people are more comfortable reaching out for help knowing there are programs and people here for them.”

Tune in to CTV Morning Live, News at Noon and News at Six to catch interviews with Saskatoon Health Region Mental Health and Addictions staff and experts throughout the week.

This year’s highlights include a focus on youth drug use, addiction and how each ties to mental health, suicide risk assessment, what kind of outcomes to expect from counselling services, Saskatoon Health Region’s Connecting 2 Care program, which targets those who are heavy users of emergency departments, inpatient care, and brief and social detox program, ensuring they are supported to address their complex needs, as well as an update on the Police and Crisis Team (PACT) one year later.

On January 27, Bell Let’s Talk day, Bell will donate five cents more to mental health initiatives for every text message sent on their network, Mobile & long distance call made on their network, Tweet using #BellLetsTalk, and every share of the Facebook image.

Bell has committed funds to support a wide range of mental health organizations, large and small, from coast to coast to coast. It was launched in September 2010 as a five-year, $50 million program to help create a stigma-free Canada, and to drive action in mental health care, research and the workplace.

Last September, the Bell Let’s Talk initiative was extended a further five years, and increased their mental health funding commitment to $100 million. But as Canadians continue to drive Bell donations with their engagement in the cause on Bell Let’s Talk Day, the total amount could be much higher.

With Clara Hughes leading the national conversation, Canadians have sent almost half a billion messages of hope and support on Bell Let’s Talk Days over the last five years, and Bell Let’s Talk has funded more than 600 partner organizations leading the mental health movement in every region of Canada.

A total of 81 per cent of Canadians say they are more aware of mental health issues than they were five years ago, 70 per cent believe attitudes have improved, and 57 per cent believe stigma has been reduced. Learn more about the first five years of Bell Let’s Talk at letstalk.bell.ca/letstalkprogressreport

Bell Let’s Talk Day 2016 is set to welcome new spokespeople and ambassadors. Last year, Clara and Québec spokespeople comedian Michel Mpambara and singer-songwriter Stefie Shock were joined by TSN Host Michael Landsberg, entertainers Howie Mandel and Mary Walsh, comedian Kevin Breel, CFL player Shea Emry and professional golfer Andrew Jensen. New to the Bell Let’s Talk team this year are singer-songwriter Serena Ryder, CFL player Étienne Boulay and actor Marie Soleil Dion.

“I’ve been part of the mental health community for many years and can safely say that Canada has become a true world leader,” said Mary Deacon, Chair of the Bell Let’s Talk initiative. “There has never been a time when more people were talking so hopefully about the advancement of mental health or more positive action was being undertaken at major institutions and the grassroots level alike. Bell Let’s Talk helps drive engagement in mental health across communications platforms, but it’s the active participation by Canadians in the conversation that has made this incredible progress happen. Thank you everyone for joining the mental health movement!”

Bell Let’s Talk partners report that approximately 450,000 people have already received mental health support through a Bell Let’s Talk funded program – 240,000 of them children and youth – 6,000 staff and volunteers have received additional training, and 1,000 Canadian military families have received mental health support.

A 2015 Nielsen survey undertaken on behalf of Bell Let’s Talk found that 81% of Canadians were more aware of mental health issues than five years ago, 70 per cent think attitudes about mental health issues have changed for the better, and 57 per cent believe the stigma around mental illness has been reduced.

The numbers are even more impressive among young people aged 18 to 24: 87 per cent are more aware of mental health than five years ago, 79 per cent think attitudes are better, and 65 per cent believe the stigma has been reduced.