Bell Let’s Talk supports new website to help address the mental health toll of COVID-19 on diverse communities

Source: McGill Newsroom

Bell Let’s Talk, McGill University, The Neuro (Montreal Neurological Institute-Hospital) and the Lady Davis Institute at the Jewish General Hospital are pleased to announce the official launch of the Multicultural Mental Health Resource Centre (MMHRC). This unique online resource seeks to improve the quality and availability of mental health services for people from diverse cultural and ethnic backgrounds, including new Canadians, refugees and members of established ethnocultural communities. With these populations disproportionally affected by the global pandemic, the MMHRC will provide a timely and critical new resource.

A joint initiative by researchers at McGill’s Division of Social & Transcultural Psychiatry, The Neuro and the Lady Davis Institute, supported by a $250,000 donation from Bell Let’s Talk, MMHRC is led by Dr. Laurence Kirmayer, an international researcher in the field of transcultural psychiatry. Dr. Kirmayer has pioneered efforts to approach mental health within the cultural context of those who are being treated and the communities in which they live.

“Addressing issues of language, culture, religion and other aspects of diversity, the MMHRC will promote greater equity in mental health care,” said Dr. Kirmayer. “Mental health is often viewed differently in different cultures, which requires culturally responsive approaches to meet the needs of those seeking help. With the generous support of Bell Let’s Talk, we have drawn on our extensive research to strengthen and develop our online platform in order to better reach out to those in need and make this resource more accessible.”

“Our partnership with McGill University and its affiliated hospitals to increase access to mental health services in multiple languages reflects the Bell Let’s Talk commitment to support culturally informed mental health supports for diverse communities,” said Mary Deacon, Chair of Bell Let’s Talk. “We’re proud to play a role in making it easier for people from a wide range of communities to get the help they need and to provide health professionals all over Canada with resources to better help their patients. This new website with its practical tools and videos will make a real difference for so many living with mental illness.”

The MMHRC has developed information and tools for several different groups:

  • For patients and their families – multilingual information on mental health issues and treatments, information about how to find culturally appropriate mental health services, and ways to help family members maintain their well-being.
  • For health care professionals – information on cultural-assessment tools and methods, access to interpreters and culture brokers, and recommendations for culturally adapted treatment interventions.
  • For community organizations – materials for educators about support programs for people living with mental health issues, and advocacy and stigma reduction.
  • For policy makers, planners and administrators – information on health disparities, recommendations to improve cultural competence in organizations, and models of mental health services and interventions to address diversity.

When COVID-19 is brought under control and out-patient visits to hospitals resume, interactive kiosks at The Neuro and the Jewish General Hospital will be available where patients and clinical staff can consult the website. In the meantime, the importance of online tools has increased with the mental health challenges COVID-19 has meant for many people. The pandemic’s impact on cultural communities has been particularly devastating, both in terms of the disproportionate physical toll it has taken, and the associated mental and emotional effects.
Webinars about Diversity and Mental Health

In partnership with Bell Let’s Talk, McGill and the Jewish General Hospital are hosting a webinar on mental health in diverse communities to engage in discussion about resiliency and mental well-being. Moderated by Dr. Ghayda Hassan, this French-language webinar will be held Thursday, January 21 at 12pm ET. To register for the webinar, please click here.

A second webinar in English presented by Queen’s University and moderated by Dr. Jane Philpott, takes place Friday, January 22, 12pm ET. To register for this event, please click here.

Bell Let’s Talk Day is January 28

On Bell Let’s Talk Day January 28, Canadians everywhere will join in the global mental health conversation. You can use a wide range of communications platforms to join in – and directly drive Bell’s donations to Canadian mental health programs simply by participating.

On Bell Let’s Talk Day, Bell donates 5 cents to Canadian mental health programs for every applicable text, local or long distance call, tweet or TikTok video using #BellLetsTalk, every FacebookInstagramPinterestSnapchatTikTokTwitter and YouTube view of the Bell Let’s Talk Day video, and every use of the Bell Let’s Talk Facebook frame or Snapchat filter. All at no cost to participants beyond what they would normally pay their service provider for online or phone access.

About Bell Let’s Talk

The largest-ever corporate commitment to mental health in Canada, Bell Let’s Talk is focused on 4 key action pillars: Anti-stigma, Care and Access, Research and Workplace Leadership. Since its launch in September 2010, Bell Let’s Talk has partnered with more than 1,100 organizations providing mental health supports and services throughout Canada, including hospitals, universities, local community service providers and other care and research organizations. To learn more, please visit

January 18, 2021