Nunatsiaq Online
NEWS: Around the Arctic May 02, 2014 - 5:00 pm

Bell Canada puts money into mental health for Nunavut, other territories

"I’ve come to understand the real need for more mental health support here"

DAVID MURPHY
Northwestel president Paul Flaherty and Bell Let's Talk spokesperson Clara Hughes make a donation to Sheila Levy, John Vander Velde, Eduardo Viega and Lorne Levy of the Nunavut Kamatsiaqtut Help Line during Hughes' visit to Iqaluit (PHOTO COURTESY OF BELL CANADA)
Northwestel president Paul Flaherty and Bell Let's Talk spokesperson Clara Hughes make a donation to Sheila Levy, John Vander Velde, Eduardo Viega and Lorne Levy of the Nunavut Kamatsiaqtut Help Line during Hughes' visit to Iqaluit (PHOTO COURTESY OF BELL CANADA)

The national telecom giant, Bell Canada, will spend $1 million on community mental health in Nunavut, the Northwest Territories and Yukon, the company said May 2.

The donation is part of Bell’s Let’s Talk campaign and Canadian Olympian Clara Hughes’ “Big Ride” cycling campaign, each of which raises money to spread public awareness about mental health issues.

Hughes, who is in Iqaluit until May 3, is on day 50 of her 110-day biking journey across Canada.

Bell, in a May 2 press release, said they will spend the $1 million over the next five years.

About $70,000 of that will go towards the Nunavut Kamatsiaqtut Help Line.

Bell’s wholly-owned subsidiary, Northwestel, has already presented that money to the Kamatsiaqtut group.

The rest of the money will go towards mental health care and anti-stigma programs, “with a focus on assisting Inuit and First Nation youth at the community level.”

“With the reality of often-isolated communities and fewer resources overall than other parts of Canada, I’ve also come to understand the real need for more mental health support here,” Hughes said in the press release.

Nunavut MP Leona Aglukkaq chimed in on the announcement too, heaping praise on the company.

“I commend Bell Canada, Clara Hughes and all their partners for taking a leadership role in such an important issue facing all Canadians,” Aglukkaq said.

Hughes will end her stay in Iqaluit by hosting a concert at Nakasuk School May 2 at 7 p.m.

Tickets are $20, and available at Arctic Ventures. All proceeds go towards the Embrace Life Council and Arctic Children and Youth Foundation. 

Hughes will visit Rankin Inlet May 3. She’ll be at the community centre from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.

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