Hughes gives mental health big momentum

Clara Hughes is on a roll … a really long roll for a really great cause.

Bell today announced Clara’s Big Ride for Bell Let’s Talk, a national bicycle tour by Clara Hughes in support of mental health that begins in March 2014 and spans more than 100 days, 12,000 kilometres and every province and territory of Canada. The ride culminates on Canada Day, July 1 2014, in Ottawa.

Canada’s six-time Olympic cycling and speed-skating medallist and national spokesperson for the Bell Let’s Talk mental health initiative, Clara will invite people in communities around the country to the mental health discussion, sharing her own story of a struggle with depression during her athletic career.

“I’m incredibly excited about bringing even more Canadians into the Bell Let’s Talk conversation – the schools, community groups and hometown champions that are really moving mental health forward,” said Clara. “I’m looking forward to meeting people across Canada, hearing about their challenges and successes, sharing our stories and embracing new ideas and opportunities in mental health. I can’t think of a better way to meet people, from the cities to the coasts to Canada’s North, than getting on my bike and taking to the roads of this beautiful country.” 

“Mental health and wellness requires the combined efforts of governments, communities, corporations and individuals,” said Leona Aglukkaq, Minister of Health. “We commend Bell Canada and Clara Hughes for their commitment to engaging Canadians in conversations and helping to create communities of compassion and awareness.”

The Ride will be a catalyst for new events, partnerships and fundraising – where every dollar stays in the community for local mental health initiatives. It will reach more than 60% of the Canadian population, including all three Northern territories.

Every Canadian can participate in Clara’s Big Ride for Bell Let’s Talk through community events and social media. For more information, please visit or follow the latest Ride news on Facebook at or on Twitter at @Bell_LetsTalk.

At least 1 in 5 Canadians will struggle with a mental illness in their lifetimes – and 2 out of 3 won’t seek the help they need because of the stigma surrounding the disease. Mental illness impacts everyone in some way, and it’s a health issue that costs the Canadian economy over $51 billion every year. More than 500,000 people miss work each day because of a mental illness, and the impact in lost labour-market participation alone was an estimated $20.7 billion in 2012.