FREDERICTON (GNB) – The 10th annual Ring A Bell campaign takes place Nov. 30 to Dec. 4.

The campaign, co-ordinated jointly by Dots NB / Partners for Youth Inc., the Department of Education and Early Childhood Development and Bell Aliant, aims to raise awareness and support conversations in and outside of the classroom on the importance of mental health.

“Encouraging open discussions about mental health in our schools is important,” said Education and Early Childhood Development Minister Dominic Cardy. “Campaigns like Ring A Bell play an important role in reducing stigma by normalizing discussions about mental health. This benefits all New Brunswickers. This week, I encourage everyone to take a moment to ring a bell and show support for the mental health of our children.”

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 in taking positive action in support of the mental health of young people.

For the 2020 campaign, schools are invited to share the ways they have been supporting mental wellness. Schools can submit videos, poems, posters or songs to the campaign and two elementary and two middle schools will be selected to receive a monetary award of $250. All entries will be compiled to put together a montage for Bell Let’s Talk Day on Jan. 28, 2021.

“For the past 10 years, this campaign has supported opportunities for open discussions about mental health in classrooms, the dinner table, the playground and in different community settings across the province,” said Cindy Miles, Partners for Youth director of community and government partnerships. “As we reflect on the 10th anniversary of the Ring a Bell campaign, we see that there has been a shift in dialogue over the years and youth are breaking down the silence and stigma that are often barriers to accessing services, but we still have a long way to go. Every young person needs to know they are not alone and that it is okay to ask for help which is why it is critical that youth voices be at the centre of these conversations.”

The 2020 campaign will culminate on Dec. 4 at noon as students in kindergarten through Grade 8 provincewide come together to show their support by ringing bells either virtually or in their classroom bubbles 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, Lawrence Station Elementary School, will be hosting the provincial bell ringing ceremony.

“Bell is proud of our partnership with Partners for Youth and the Department of Education and Early Childhood Development and the progress we have made in growing mental health awareness and support for children and youth,” said Glen LeBlanc, Bell’s vice-chair, Atlantic. “The advancement of school and government programs through the Ring A Bell campaign has had a positive impact not just in New Brunswick but across Canada as a part of the national Bell Let’s Talk conversation about mental health.”

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