By Josh White
Special to The Pilot
ST. JOHN’S, NL – Bell Let’s Talk Day is in full swing today, promoting mental health awareness and raising millions in donations for mental health organizations across Canada.
But one individual is using his talents to help others with mental illness. Lewisporte singer-songwriter Peter Welsh has been writing songs for years, and one in particular – “Hazel Eyes” – hits close to home.
“Hazel Eyes is a song that I wrote for my friend who was really struggling with depression and anxiety,” said Welsh. “I was in eighth grade when I wrote it, but it’s been revamped ever since,” he said.
“Being younger, it was really heavy on my heart, and I didn’t know how to handle those issues or my friends who had those issues.”
Welsh decided to help in the only way he knew how.
“I decided to sit down at the guitar one night and literally, within 20 minutes I had a song wrote straight (from the heart), that I wrote for anyone with mental illness.”
Bell Let’s Talk is an annual event on Jan. 31 where Canadians are encouraged to talk openly about mental health. For every tweet, text and phone call made, Bell Canada will donate five cents to mental health organizations and projects across the country.
According to Beverley Hiscock, representative for the Canadian Mental Health Association in St. John’s, the campaign goes further than that.
She says Bell Let’s Talk could attract other organizations to join the cause and to continue speaking openly about mental illness.
“I think it encourages other corporations to take notice and contribute and be a part of that momentum,” Hiscock said. “If other events and other ideas are sparked from that day, it will help us to get one step closer to offering those programs and services that are certainly lacking.”
Welsh has one goal in mind with his music – keeping the conversation about mental health going.
“I have a lot of friends who struggle with mental illnesses and I think sometimes it gets made light of,” he said. “Sometimes we only hear the tip of the iceberg with this problem, and there [are] people all around us every day who are always in need.
“I definitely think we should try and reach out to them every day.”