FREDERICTON (GNB) – The ninth annual Ring A Bell campaign takes place Dec. 2-6.

“Promoting positive mental health in our schools is essential to setting our students up for long-term success,” said Education and Early Childhood Development Minister Dominic Cardy. “By having open discussions about mental health, we are better able to support children and youth, and improve the overall well-being of New Brunswickers. I encourage everyone to participate by ringing a bell this week.”

The goal of the campaign is to raise awareness and support conversations in and outside of the classroom on the importance of mental health.

The campaign is co-ordinated jointly by Dots NB / Partners for Youth Inc., the Department of Education and Early Childhood Development and Bell Aliant.

“Our government knows how important mental health is for everyone, especially our children and youth,” said Social Development Minister Dorothy Shephard. “Campaigns such as this one help remove the stigma around mental illness and make it easier for everyone to talk about it. By normalizing discussions about mental health and working together, we can make positive changes.”

Mental health lesson plans and activities will be used in classrooms across the province as part of the campaign and are meant to support youth, their families and communities to take positive action in support of the mental health of young people. This awareness effort will culminate as students in kindergarten through Grade 8 provincewide are invited to show their support by ringing bells for one minute. Ringing bells is meant to draw attention to the importance of ensuring the mental health needs of children are met and their voices are heard. This year, Upper Miramichi Elementary will be hosting the main event with community guests invited to participate in the bell ringing ceremony.

“We believe that the voices of youth must be front and centre in this conversation,” said Partners for Youth Inc. spokesperson Cindy Miles. “Youth and their families have shared their voices and experiences with us. As an agency that has been advocating for meaningful opportunities for youth to be heard on issues that matter to them for the past 25 years, we are pleased to announce that we are creating a New Brunswick Youth Council.”

“Bell Let’s Talk is proud of our long-standing engagement with Partners for Youth and the Department of Education and Early Childhood Development to increase awareness and support for child and youth mental health across New Brunswick,” said Glen LeBlanc, vice-chair Atlantic at Bell Canada. “We applaud the Ring A Bell campaign for its leadership in taking positive action to improve mental health.”

Improving mental health services for children and youth is a component of the provincial government’s 10-year education plans.

Media Contact(s)

Danielle Elliott, communications, Department of Education and Early Childhood Development, 506-444-2179.