They may play different sports, but Chuck Wall and Mia Furlong are now teammates.
The St. F.X. student-athletes are the 2017 participants, as part of an Atlantic University Sport (AUS) initiative, in the Bell Let’s Talk Day campaign.
“I have always thought it is an important issue and an issue that I have felt personally related to. I was excited about the chance to participate,” Wall, an X-Men football wide receiver, said.
Furlong, who runs for St. F.X.’s cross country and track and field squads, agreed.
“I find it is an issue that is not talked about enough, so I jumped at the opportunity to help raise awareness around campus – not only [with] student-athletes, but also everyone, in general, in the community,” she said.
Bell Let’s Talk Day, which will take place Wednesday, Jan. 25, focuses on raising awareness and encouraging dialogue about mental health.
Wall and Furlong are amongst the more than 20,000 student-athletes from Canadian universities that are contributing to the program.
The Xaverian duo, along with other participating AUS student-athletes, were part of creating a ‘fighting the stigma’ video based on the five simple ways to help end stigma around mental illness.
Leading up to shooting the video, Wall and Furlong participated in a phone conversation with a Bell Let’s Talk representative.
“They asked us a few question, just pertaining to how mental health has affected us, personally, and what being kind can do to someone’s day, and how that can make a positive impact,” Wall said.
Like most people, the St. F.X. student-athletes have experience with mental health issues.
“For me, I think it is mainly in general and my friends and family have been affected by mental illness,” Furlong said, in talking further about why she wanted to be part of the project.
“I find that a lot of people just get really down and they think that no one is around to help.
“It is a fight that we can win, so I think it is really important to just make sure everyone knows that someone is there for you,” she added.
Wall said he has also had family and friends dealing with mental health challenges.
“I think just having the conversation about it and being open about it is always better than, kind of, keeping it to yourself,” he said.
Wall noted having the chance to talk to someone has really helped him with some challenges.
“I have ADHD and have just, kind of, struggled with that and I noticed that, on my own, I just struggled and got in the same cycle. I was never able to help myself until I reached out to people, talked to them and got a lot of support from the university and the people in my life,” he said.
“It helped me a lot – just talking about it … and not being afraid to ask for help.”
Furlong said “we are stronger together.”
“Bell Let’s Talk is a great way to open people’s horizons and just talk about the issue more and help eliminate the stigma associated with mental health,” she added.
Leading up to Jan. 25, AUS schools hosted games with a Bell Let’s Talk theme, which included fans receiving thunder sticks and temporary tattoos, along with having the opportunity to sign talk bubbles and banners in support of mental health.
Fans are also encouraged to take pictures and share on social media on Bell Let’s Talk Day to support Canadian mental health and drive Bell’s funding for mental health programs.
On Bell Let’s Talk Day, the company will donate five cents to Canadian mental health programs for each of these interactions, at no extra charge to participants:
Every text message, mobile and long distance call made by Bell Canada and Bell Aliant customers.
Twitter: Every tweet using #BellLetsTalk
Facebook: Every view of the Bell Let’s Talk Day video at Facebook.com/BellLetsTalk
Instagram: Every post using #BellLetsTalk
Snapchat: Every use of the Bell Let’s Talk Snapchat geofilter
For more about the Bell Let’s Talk initiative, visit www.letstalk-
To view the AUS video, titled ‘Be Kind,’ visit https://oneteam.bell.ca/