We should be talking about mental illness every single day. For now, we'll take what we can get.
In 2010, Canadian telecommunications company Bell launched a campaign called "Let's Talk Day," which encouraged people across the globe to, well, talk about mental health.
The National Alliance on Mental Illness says about 1 in 5 adults in the U.S. will experience some form of mental illness in a given year. 1 in 25 will suffer from a serious mental illness that severely interferes with their ability to live their daily life. (Bell itself claims similar numbers)
Whatever the exact prevalence of mental health issues is, it usually feels like much less. After all, you can't see things like depression, PTSD, or eating disorders.
And those who suffer from them often don't feel safe enough to share.
On Jan. 25, using the hashtag #BellLetsTalk, people from all over the world once again shared their thoughts, hopes, fears, and personal stories around mental health.
Bell promises to donate 5 cents for every use of the hashtag to mental health services in Canada, and as of last year it has committed a total of over $100 million to the cause.
But the real payoff has been in the conversations and stories that flowed out from behind closed lips and into the world.
Here are the 13 best tweets from Bell Let's Talk Day, from powerhouse celebs to everyday people glad to finally get it off their chest.
1. When Ellen is on board, your campaign has officially become a movement.
For every retweet of this, Bell will donate 5 cents to Canadian Mental Health Programs, and I think that’s amazing. #BellLetsTalk— Ellen DeGeneres (@Ellen DeGeneres) 1485365173
2. Oh yeah, and the hunky prime minister of Canada was down, too. No big deal.
Let’s talk about mental health so more people ask for help when they need it. RTs send 5¢ to support mental health programs. #BellLetsTalk— Justin Trudeau (@Justin Trudeau) 1485352744
3. From there, things really took off. Message #1? You should not have to be ashamed of who you are.
4. Hear that? Remember the statistics? You are definitely not alone.
People are not comfortable discussing there anxiety, depression, OCD, etc because they want to be "normal" but it IS normal. #bellletstalk— Jaclyn Hill (@Jaclyn Hill) 1485367664
5. Yep, what she said.
6. And hey, friends and allies, we have a big part to play here.
There is tremendous pain in silence. Be the listener who could save someone's life. ❤️ #BellLetsTalk #MentalHealthMatters— Erin Lee 🌈 The Guardian🐲 (@Erin Lee 🌈 The Guardian🐲) 1485367689
7. The first thing we can learn to do is show some empathy and understanding.
#BellLetsTalk anxiety isn't just worrying , depression isn't me just having a bad day #BellLetsTalk— Hannah (@Hannah) 1485366168
8. When a pro hockey player says you're strong, you ought to believe it.
Mental illness is not something people should be ashamed of - let's end the stigma. Know that you are loved and you are strong #BellLetsTalk— Cam Atkinson (@Cam Atkinson) 1485367720
9. Hockey players actually showed up big time for this, which is awesome.
Mental health is very important and you should have NO fear talking about it, Let's help end the stigma!… https://t.co/IRlXsXiOyX— Alex Galchenyuk (@Alex Galchenyuk) 1485374416
10. And so did this former professional wrestler.
If all my followers were to RETWEET this, $50,000+ would be raised for mental health initiatives! C'mon Stratuspher… https://t.co/2OxJppns8y— Trish Stratus (@Trish Stratus) 1485375647
11. But the real stars were the regular people who had a story to tell, like Kyle.
#BellLetsTalk about how being bipolar does not mean that I am violent or angry.— double denim yt trash thor (@double denim yt trash thor) 1485376155
12. Or who just wanted to let people know they were there to listen, like Miriam.
13. But in the end, as inspiring as this all was, if you only take one thing away, let it be this.
This is great cause and an awesome day, but mental health is about much more than just one day. #BellLetsTalk all 365 #SickNotWeak— Tim Micallef (@Tim Micallef) 1485375399
As of this writing, Bell had officially counted over 112 million social interactions using the hashtag.
That works out to more than $3 million in total donations, and even more importantly, that is a whole lot of conversation around a topic that sorely needs it.
Look out for #BellLetsTalk day again next January, or better yet, try to live its values the other 364 days of the year — whether that means mustering up the bravery to talk about your mental health or finding the strength to listen.
This post was updated 5/4/2017.