Bell Let’s Talk Day – What’s missing as we fight mental illness?

Writer: Teresa Madaleno




So today (January 31st), is Bell Let’s Talk Day in Canada. It’s a one-day national campaign to help promote conversation around the stigma of mental illness and to encourage understanding of emotional health.

I applaud the four pillars that Bell Let’s Talk are built around: fighting the stigma, improving access to care, supporting research, and leading by example in workplace mental health.

People across the country are starting to take to their phones and social media accounts in bigger numbers each year to talk about mental health. The idea is that for every tweet, text etc., Bell donates five cents to mental health. Since the campaign began about 8 years ago over 85 million dollars has been raised.

While this type of movement is way overdue, we really need more than one day a year to bring attention to what I would call an epidemic.

I am grateful for the Bell Let’s Talk initiative and those who support it, but as someone who has witnessed people suffering from anxiety and depression, I can tell you that more – much more is needed. Since I am an Ontario resident I will refer to the condition of mental health care in this province, although it isn’t much different in other provinces.

Ontario & Mental Health

Research suggests that the burden associated with mental illness is 1.5 times that of all cancers combined and we all hear about the heavy toll cancer takes on our healthcare system. Ontario has a 54 billion dollar health budget, but did you know that the province only devotes about 3.5 billion to mental health and addiction? Doctors are always saying that our “mental health is just as important as our physical health” so why is that not reflected in budgets?

If you or someone you know has a mental health issue, don’t expect quick medical attention. Right now, mental health advocates tell me that the average wait time to see a counselor in Ontario is about five to six months. About one in four Canadians has serious enough depression to require treatment.

Bell Let’s Talk is having an impact beyond the annual campaign day. For instance, last year, Choices for Youth, in St. John’s Newfoundland received a grant from the Bell Lets Talk Community Fund. Staff from CFY have said that without the funding, the demand for a safe place to talk about mental health would not be possible. There are many other examples of how Bell Let’s Talk has helped community groups focused on mental health, but I would like to see people talking about mental health issues, the way they talk about any other health problem – openly and often.

The Canadian Mental Health Association states that “mental and physical health are fundamentally linked.” The World Health Organization contends, “There is no health without mental health”. I think it is clear that we all need to highlight the need for better mental health care on a daily basis, not just on Bell Let’s Talk Day.








Chapter 5 – Essentials of Writing for Small Business

As some of you know, my new book called – Essentials of Writing for Small Business – was published in November (’17). Below you will find an excerpt from the introduction of Chapter 5, which is all about crafting News Releases.

‘In recent years there has been a lot of debate over whether or not the news release is relevant anymore. A news release also referred to as a media release, is a written communication directed at members of the news media to announce something newsworthy. People who believe that news releases are a waste of time assume that traditional media (newspapers, magazines, radio, and television) aren’t strong and powerful anymore due to declining circulation and revenue. In reality, downsizing in the news industry has led to greater dependence on the syndicated news, including information that comes from wire services. Wire services carry news releases. Also, consider that many traditional news outlets have their own online sites with large audiences and they need to generate a lot of news for these sites. While it is true that newspaper subscribers have declined and so have audience numbers for radio and television newscasts, the audience and need for content have grown through online sharing. This includes online sharing of news stories.’

To read more, including tips on how to write an effective news release, news release examples, and other information on news releases, as well tips on newsletters, blogging, white papers, proposals, video scripts, and advertorials you will find Essentials of Writing for Small Business through

2017 The Good

Writer: Teresa Madaleno

The year 2017 was crazy – a year of natural disasters, political shock, and horrifying terrorism, yet good things still happened.

A Voice

After Donald Trump, who has been accused of being a “sexual predator”, was inaugurated as U.S president, literally millions of women and men around the world took to the streets to stand up for women’s rights. Some suggest that the Women’s March in Washington was the largest single-day protest in recorded U.S history. There are even those who speculate that this type of demonstration lead the way for women to speak out about sexual abuse that they have kept quiet about for decades.

Women who have been harassed or assaulted in the workplace have been speaking up in recent months and people are actually listening to their stories. In 2016 the U.S Equal Employment Opportunity Commission conducted a workplace harassment study and reported that anywhere between 25 and 85 percent of women say they have experienced sexual harassment at work. In the past, women did not come forward due to fear of retaliation. The pressure to push harassment under the carpet has been lifted, perhaps opening up a window of opportunity in 2018 to find ways to address the problem.


Where there is despair, there is hope and humanity. Hurricane Harvey dumped unprecedented amounts of rain on Houston and the Gulf Coast. Irma battered the Virgin Islands, St. Martin and other parts of the Caribbean then barged into Florida. Of course, Maria peeled roofs off buildings in Dominica and devastated Puerto Rico. So what is so good about this? In the darkest of times, people showed compassion to perfect strangers. Harvey took 77 lives and yet people put themselves at risk by using their own boats to rescue families, standing in the streets to flag down police and emergency personnel to help those trapped in vehicles, and forming human chains to guide people away from rising water. Lets not forget, strangers from around the world stepped up to offer supplies for those who were left with nothing.

Medical Advancements

There were many medical accomplishments in 2017, including the development of gene-altering techniques and immunotherapies to treat cancer. Ohio State University researchers developed a technology this past year called “tissue nanotransfection”. The technology is embedded in a tiny chip and can reprogram skin cells to repair organs and blood vessels. Thanks to medical advancements you can get electrocardiograms using a small device that attaches to the back of a smartphone. Analysis of results can be sent directly to your doctor. Before long, we will be able to get EKG’s by just placing a finger on the band of an Apple Watch.

The Environment

Despite climate change deniers, including Donald Trump, governments of all levels across the globe made commitments in 2017 to reducing their carbon footprint. In Montreal a ban on the use of plastic bags went into effect January first with fines ranging from $200 to $1000. A number of other jurisdictions around the world have decided to enforce similar bans. Led by the president of France, Emmanuel Macron, the One Planet Summit was held with 20 international companies announcing that they would phase out coal. Former New York City Mayor, Michael Bloomberg helped introduce the We Are Still In coalition, a network supporting climate action, despite Trump’s withdrawal from the Paris Climate Agreement. Bloomberg also announced in 2017 that he would donate 64 million to the retirement of U.S coal plants. The Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation announced that it is awarding 20 million dollars in grants to 100 environmental organizations. According to the Global CCS Institute there are about 22 significant carbon-capture and storage projects on the go as of 2017 in North American and around the world.

Love & Tolerance

I am not a royal family follower, but I am including the engagement of Britain’s Prince Harry and Actress Meghan Markle because Markle is divorced, biracial and American. Any one of these factors would have eliminated her from being considered a member of the British royal family just a few short years ago. This tells us that there has been progress in this traditional institution. If the Royals are willing to bend, perhaps there is hope for progress and tolerance elsewhere.

To put it mildly, 2017 was an interesting year. We can only hope that 2018 will bring more good, the world over.





Responsible Business

Writer: Teresa Madaleno

Neutrogena Photo

I have had the privilege of working with companies that offer environmentally friendly products and services. I say privileged because these companies are changing the way we live and it is for the better. Who wouldn’t want to be part of that?

This past year, I have been writing a lot of corporate documents and blogs about various types of environmental technologies. I have also been writing about the slow, but steady changes happening in the fashion industry to address waste and the unbelievable amount of energy use in the textile sector. It might sound cliché but there is something noble about fashion houses that are lowering their carbon footprint and producing clothes made of recycled materials. I am happy to say that recycled fashion is something more and more people are becoming aware of. However, there are forward-thinkers who want to do even more to protect future generations.

While I am not one to promote large brands, I want to use Neutrogena as an example. The average age of a melanoma sufferer is around 63. For years we have been told that skin cancer risk increases with age, but there are a lot of young people who are now getting this type of cancer. Neutrogena now has a UV-activated clothing prototype that changes colors when you are exposed to skin-damaging rays. The prototype is a dress that you might see on a twenty-something. At first glance, the dress is white, but when it is exposed to UV rays, even on cloudy days, it changes colors. The idea is to demonstrate to people that you can still get skin damage even when the sun is not out in full-force. Neutrogena officials say their research tells them that a lot of people still think that UV damage can only happen when they are outside in the direct sun.

While fashion experts aren’t suggesting we ditch the sunscreen, they do like the idea of our clothing becoming a constant reminder to be careful; not forget to apply sunscreen every single day, no matter what the weather conditions are.

I am not saying that this sundress should become all the rage, but the prototype could be on to something. What it really comes down to is that we need more of this – more creative, sustainable thinking businesses, willing to try something new and responsible.


Writing Guide Available

Writer: Teresa Madaleno


Back in 2013, I published my first book; a collection of inspirational stories about women helping women through difficult periods in their lives. This was my way of saying thank-you to the many girlfriends who have supported me throughout my life. Fast forward to 2016 and I began gathering my thoughts to craft a book that focused more on my work. As a communication consultant, I have had the opportunity to work with companies in various sectors – helping them craft their message and reach their target audiences. Not everyone can afford to hire a professional writer and media expert to promote their products, services, or cause so I decided to share a few tips. While I don’t give away all the tools of my trade, I do try to provide small business operators and their staff with enough advice in ‘Essentials of Writing for Small Business’ to get started. I may have got distracted by work and other commitments along the way, but the guide is finally finished.

‘Essentials of Writing for Small Business’

Now available through


Storytelling in Business

Writer: Teresa Madaleno



Storytelling is a very important part of running a business today. Whether you are standing on a stage, writing a blog, or putting together a case study, you need to get your point across with good storytelling. So what is good storytelling in business?

There are really three elements you have to keep in mind when you are trying to get attention for your brand through storytelling. First you have to be clear in illustrating your point. State up front what your message or idea is. Most people feel like the world needs a lot of background information in order to understand yet in business the truth is that we need to get to the point right away. If we don’t get to the point quickly, we lose the audience.

Another important element is proof.  The best way to help a consumer, investor, or potential business partner understand your vision, concept, product, or service is to provide proof of its value. One way to do this is through case studies. Case studies are really just examples. Yes, they can be boring so some people present examples in the form of video or testimonials – and these can be effective too.

Lastly, it doesn’t hurt to give people simple, easy to follow instructions. This can demonstrate how easy it is for the audience to implement or use whatever it is you are selling.

Standing in front of an audience singing your company’s praises or writing a blog that touts how unique your product is will do little to impress people, but telling a story about how your product or service worked for someone else carries a lot more weight. Storytelling can be creative, entertaining, and even humorous depending on the product or service you provide and the audience you are catering to so before you formulate your story, make sure you know your audience well.





Books Coming to Screen in 2018



Writer: Teresa Madaleno


I know a lot of people who enjoy reading books before they become movies. The idea is to read first then watch the movie, compare and critique. Lately, I have had several readers ask me what 2018 books will be coming to a theatre near them. While I imagine I am missing some, here are the books know will be movies:

  • A Wrinkle in Time – if it sounds familiar it’s because it is the adaptation of L’Engle’s 1962 novel about good, evil, and time travel. Rumour has it that this Sci-Fi will star Reese Witherpoon, Chris Pine, and Oprah Winfrey.
  • All the Bright Places – is a novel about two teenagers helping each other through some very difficult times. Elle Fanning will be playing one of the lead roles in the movie version.
  • Ophelia – the story of Hamlet from the point of view of Ophelia, a book by Lisa Kline, will hit the big screen at some point in 2018. The cast will include Naomi Watts and Clive Owen.
  • Ready Player One – this book about an obsession with an online game leads to a massive treasure hunt in the online world. The movie version is expected to be thrilling, as well as humorous.
  • Let it Snow – is a novel by the same author who brought us “The Fault in Our Stars”. Does this mean you should bring a box of tissues to the theatre to see the movie version? Some insiders say, “Yes” the story of love just might bring you to tears.
  • Peter Rabbit – the classic tale of a rebellious rabbit comes to the screen in February 2018. It will star James Corden as Peter Rabbit, and Rose Byrne as Bea.

So if more than one of these sound appealing to you then, get reading. The year 2018 will be here before you know it.