Bell Let's Talk support for community mental health in Greater Montreal

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9 organizations receive $150,000 in Bell Let's Talk Community Fund grants

MONTRÉAL, Oct. 2, 2017 /CNW Telbec/ - In celebration of Mental Illness Awareness Week, Bell Let's Talk today announced grants totalling $150,000 to 9 mental health organizations to improve access to care for people living in the Greater Montréal area.

Dr. Gaétan Barrette, Minister of Health and Social Services for Québec, and Denis Coderre, Mayor of Montréal, joined Martin Spalding, Bell Media's Vice President and General Manager, Québec Radio and Local TV, to make the announcement.

"Bell Let's Talk is proud to support these important organizations and the much needed work they do to help people living with mental illness in Montréal," said Mr. Spalding. "Improving access to care within the community is a priority for Bell Let's Talk. With the addition of these new partners, the Bell Let's Talk Community Fund has provided grants to 26 organizations across Québec this year."

This year's Bell Let's Talk Community Fund recipients in Greater Montréal are:

  • Centre de soir Denise-Massé
  • Expression LaSalle centre communautaire en santé mentale
  • Fondation de l'Hôpital du Sacré-Cœur de Montréal
  • Fondation Institut de gériatrie de Montréal
  • Dr Clown Foundation
  • Head & Hands/À 2 mains
  • Le CAP – Centre d'apprentissage parallèle de Montréal
  • Prise II
  • Société québécoise de la schizophrénie et des psychoses apparentées (SQS)

"The Bell Let's Talk Community Fund has been instrumental in engaging the community in frank and open discussions on mental illness, and in ending the stigma associated with the disease," said Gaétan Barrette, Minister of Health and Social Services. The support provided to community organizations will help deliver innovative projects to not only improve the quality of mental health care and services, but to make them more accessible. I would like to thank all those who work with these vulnerable people for their invaluable efforts that are consistent with our own."

"Mental health is fragile," added Denis Coderre, Mayor of Montréal. One in five Canadians will experience some form of mental illness during their lifetime. This figure is staggering. This is why mental health is a collective responsibility. It is the premise that drives the City of Montréal's actions regarding the overall health of its citizens. This includes tackling the issue of mental illness being linked to homelessness through the City of Montréal's Plan d'action montréalais en itinérance 2014-2017, the Programme d'accompagnement justice-santé mentale via the municipal court, or the Équipe de soutien aux urgences psychosociales (ÉSUP) consisting of SPVM police officers and social workers who patrol and intervene directly at the frontline with people in crisis or suffering a mental disturbance. Knowing the challenges linked to mental health, I want to congratulate Bell for its social commitment, and acknowledge its involvement in this cause. I hope that it will inspire other private partners to get involved."

"On behalf of the SQS and the 8 other recipient organizations, we would like to thank Bell Let's Talk for supporting our programs and helping us to continue providing and improving mental health care for people in the Greater Montréal area," added Francine Dubé, Executive Director of the SQS. "Our community organizations are a major asset for the public health and social services network. With these generous grants, we will be able to expand our programs and help more people who need support, including our increasingly diverse clientele."

About Bell Let's Talk
The Bell Let's Talk initiative promotes Canadian mental health with national awareness and anti-stigma campaigns like Bell Let's Talk Day and provides significant funding for community care and access, research and workplace initiatives. To learn more, please visit

The $1-million annual Bell Let's Talk Community Fund makes donations to community-based mental health initiatives to improve access to care throughout Canada. Each year, registered charities can apply for a grant up to $25,000, and all submitted applications are reviewed by a committee of mental health experts from across the country. Applications for the 2018 fund will open in January. Since its launch in 2011, the Bell Let's Talk Community Fund has supported 414 grassroots mental health initiatives in communities from coast to coast to coast.

About Bell
Bell is Canada's largest communications company, providing broadband wireless, TV, Internet and business communication services from Bell Canada, Bell Aliant and Bell MTS. Bell Media is Canada's premier multimedia company with leading assets in television, radio, out of home and digital media. To learn more, please visit or

The Bell Let's Talk Community Fund 2017 supports 9 Montréal organizations

Centre de soir Denise-Massé 
The Centre will use the Bell Let's Talk Community Fund grant to quadruple the impact of its collective kitchen workshops, growing to offer the experience to 24 people living with mental health issues every month. Participants learn to cook simple, nutritious meals at an affordable price in a communal setting, reflecting their income levels, and create social links to break their isolation and restore a sense of pride, autonomy and self-confidence.

Expression LaSalle centre communautaire en santé mentale 
Expression LaSalle is a community mental health centre that offers an alternative, non-medical approach to helping people with complex, persistent mental health issues through group and individual services that are artistic, psychotherapeutic and psycho-educational. The Bell Let's Talk Community Fund grant will be used to extend the length of one drama therapy program and will also enable the Centre to quadruple the number of drama therapy sessions offered.

Fondation de l'Hôpital du Sacré-Coeur de Montréal 
To provide a more comprehensive treatment plan for children up to 5 years of age who face mental health challenges, the Foundation will invest the Bell Let's Talk Community Fund grant in a standardized evaluation protocol based on the latest available clinical research. This will improve early and thorough assessments of mental health problems and facilitate the development of comprehensive intervention plans for the children and their families.

Fondation Institut de gériatrie de Montréal 
To help seniors reduce their dependence on medication to treat their insomnia and anxiety, the Foundation will use the Bell Let's Talk Community Fund grant to create the first online cognitive behavioural therapy tools in French. The therapy, which has been successful in helping seniors, will be made available at no charge.

Dr Clown Foundation
For the past 15 years, the Foundation has provided professional artists to visit children with various illnesses and conditions. The Dr Clown Foundation will use the Bell Community Fund grant to develop the expertise of its 31 therapeutic clowns on mental health. This grant will offer training focused on specific issues and, with the collaboration of medical staff and psycho-social workers, the artists will learn to adapt their interventions to the specific needs of children visited. This represents the first part of an entirely new program specialized in mental health.

Head & Hands/À 2 mains 
To expand its ongoing work with marginalized youth, Head & Hands will use the Bell Let's Talk Community Fund grant to support the work of an additional counsellor, 2 street workers and extra administrative support that will enable them to help approximately 800 more youth than the current 1,200. Head & Hands provides free, long-term counselling and mobile/in person on-the-spot crisis support to youth who cannot access more traditional mental health services due to marginalization or other barriers.

Le CAP (Centre d'Apprentissage Parallèle de Montréal) 
The Bell Let's Talk Community Fund grant will support Le CAP's initiative to ease reintegration into society for those experiencing psychological difficulties by enhancing existing creative therapy programs. Specifically, the grant will help develop 10 individual art exhibitions created by the Centre's clients plus a travelling collective exhibition. By serving as ambassadors for the exhibits, the clients will be better positioned to participate in the broader community.

Prise II
Prise II, an alternative mental health resource, will use the Bell Let's Talk Community Fund grant to incorporate a mutual assistance practice into its service offerings, and to set up a new group made up of and for people who are completing their journey at Prise II. With this funding, the centre will provide training and experiment with the "intentional peer support" approach, an initiative supported b research and access to other self-help groups.

Société québécoise de la schizophrénie et des psychoses apparentées 
Thanks to the Bell Let's Talk Community Fund grant, the Société will be able to expand its humanistic and cognitive-behavioural therapy (CBT) program. Families from five remote areas – Côte-Nord, Gaspésie / Les Îles, Abitibi / Témiscamingue, Saguenay / Lac St-Jean and Bas-Saint-Laurent – will benefit from this one-of-a-kind, leading-edge program adapted for people helping to care for a loved who is suffering from mental illness. Local professionals will be trained and supported in order to expand the reach of the program to the entire regional clientele. The training aims to give participants a more thorough knowledge of schizophrenia and allow them to learn effective strategies for intervening with the caregiver as well as the person struggling with a psychotic disorder.

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