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Queen's, Bell Let's Talk renew commitment to mental health research

  • Clara Hughes speaks at Tuesday's announcement of a $1 million gift from Bell to Queen’s to renew the Bell Canada Mental Health and Anti-Stigma Research Chair.
    Clara Hughes speaks at Tuesday's announcement of a $1 million gift from Bell to Queen’s to renew the Bell Canada Mental Health and Anti-Stigma Research Chair.
  • Heather Stuart, the Bell Canada Mental Health and Anti-Stigma Research Chair, receives a hug from Mary Deacon, Chair of the Bell Let’s Talk initiative.
    Heather Stuart, the Bell Canada Mental Health and Anti-Stigma Research Chair, receives a hug from Mary Deacon, Chair of the Bell Let’s Talk initiative.
  • Heather Stuart, the Bell Canada Mental Health and Anti-Stigma Research Chair, speaks at the announcement of a $1 million gift from Bell to Queen’s to renew the position.
    Heather Stuart, the Bell Canada Mental Health and Anti-Stigma Research Chair, speaks at the announcement of a $1 million gift from Bell to Queen’s to renew the position.
  • Clara Hughes, Olympian and Bell Let’s Talk Day spokesperson, speaks with Principal Daniel Woolf at Tuesday's announcement at the Bioscience Complex.
    Clara Hughes, Olympian and Bell Let’s Talk Day spokesperson, speaks with Principal Daniel Woolf at Tuesday's announcement at the Bioscience Complex.

Queen’s University and Bell Let’s Talk have pledged to continue working together to advance mental health research.

At an event on campus Jan. 24, Bell Let’s Talk announced a $1 million gift to Queen’s to renew the Bell Canada Mental Health and Anti-Stigma Research Chair. The inaugural holder of the world’s first anti-stigma research chair, Heather Stuart, has been reappointed to the position for another five-year term.

[Heather Stuart]
Heather Stuart has been reappointed as the Bell Canada Mental Health and Anti-Stigma Research Chair. Over the past five years as the chair, Dr. Stuart has raised awareness and developed best practices in stigma reduction. (Photo by Bernard Clark)

“The Bell Canada Mental Health and Anti-Stigma Research Chair positions Canada as a leader in advancing research into the pervasive stigma around mental illness, a significant barrier to treatment for many people. The support of Bell Let’s Talk enables Dr. Stuart and her team to continue their important work in finding new ways to leave stigma behind,” Principal Daniel Woolf says.

Dr. Stuart’s advocacy work has led to greater awareness and the development of best practices in stigma reduction. She has shared best practices in anti-stigma intervention and outreach with organizations around the country and internationally, including the Mental Health Commission of Canada and the World Psychiatric Association.

The profile of the Bell Canada Mental Health and Anti-Stigma Research Chair continues to grow. Dr. Stuart brings her work to audiences across the country through public lectures including in Toronto, Ottawa, Halifax, and Vancouver, to date.

The Bell Canada Mental Health and Anti-Stigma Research Chair positions Canada as a leader in advancing research into the pervasive stigma around mental illness, a significant barrier to treatment for many people.

— Queen's Principal Daniel Woolf 

“I am extremely grateful for the support of Bell Let’s Talk and Queen’s and I look forward to continuing my work with partner organizations to develop and evaluate mental health best practices,” Dr. Stuart says. “This work will include significant knowledge exchange through speaking at conferences, consulting with policymakers and others, and publishing in peer reviewed scientific literature.”

While 1 in 5 Canadians will experience a mental illness in their lifetime, two thirds of those will not seek treatment for fear of judgment or rejection. Working to end that stigma is a key pillar of the Bell Let’s Talk mental health initiative, alongside access to care, research, and workplace mental health. In 2015, Dr. Stuart and Bell Let’s Talk developed the 5 simple ways to help end the stigma around mental illness.

“Bell Let’s Talk is very proud to renew our partnership with Queen’s and to support the continued work of Dr. Stuart and her team,” says Mary Deacon, Chair of the Bell Let’s Talk initiative. “Since the Bell Canada Mental Health and Anti-Stigma Research Chair was established in 2012, awareness of the stigma around mental illness and efforts to reduce it have enabled many more people to reach out and get the help they need.”

The Bell Let's Talk initiative promotes Canadian mental health with national awareness and anti-stigma campaign, like Bell Let’s Talk Day, alongside significant Bell funding for community care and access, research, and workplace initiatives. Bell Let’s Talk Day 2017 is Jan. 25. To learn more, please visit Bell.ca/LetsTalk.