New foundation to publicise youth mental health issues

| 06/03/2018
CNS Local Life

The Alex Panton Foundation committee, actors and volunteers celebrate Hidden premiere

(CNS Local Life): Hundreds came out to support the launch of the Alex Panton Foundation at two recent events, the premiere of short film Hidden and a youth mental health symposium, the latter serving as an opportunity to achieve one of foundation’s main objectives: to provide information on the organisations and groups available on island for those either dealing with mental illness or supporting a loved one who is.

Referring to the turnout, foundation chairman Jane Panton said in a press release, “We are so incredibly grateful for the support that the community has shown. It proves that the rest of Cayman also feels as passionately as we do about changing the narrative around mental illness, and how much we all want to make our island better for the children, teens and young adults dealing with depression and anxiety.”

Close to 400 people watched Hidden, over two viewings, on Thursday, 8 February, with both screenings followed by a Q&A session with clinical psychologist Dr Erica Lam.

“I was beyond thrilled by the outcome,” Kaylyn Bodden, who wrote Hidden, said. “I couldn’t believe how many people showed up for the cause – whether it was because they knew me, knew the Panton family, or knew Alex personally, the response was incredible.

“I am still so overwhelmed by the positive feedback. People were really able to relate to the characters – which was my goal when writing it.”

Close to 300 people attended the symposium held Saturday, 10 February, to learn more about mental illness in Cayman’s youth and young adults. Speakers included mental illness survivors and their families as well as counsellors and medical professionals.

“Having that many people come out to learn more about the foundation makes it clear that Cayman is ready for a change in the way we help those in our community dealing with mental illness,” Panton said. “It solidifies how important our mission of improving the mental health of children and young adults in the Cayman Islands, is to everyone on our islands.”

She added that the foundation aims to work with other groups. “We are so happy to be able to start building these partnerships with groups such as Loud Silent Voices and the Taya Lounge, as they have already done so much for the community,” Panton said. “It is important for us work together with these types of organisations and help to continue to develop the work that they have already done.”

Next steps for the foundation include working to collect meaningful data about the current standing of mental illness in Cayman’s youth as well as information on what sort of support they need, to help direct the future initiatives of the organisation.

For more information, go to the Alex Panton Foundation website and Facebook page. Presentations from the symposium will be uploaded shortly.

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Category: Community, Medical and Health

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