The Addison Kelly Mental Health Education Fund aims to increase education and awareness of mental health issues and illnesses in the Cayman Islands by offering academic scholarships as well as training programmes to the community at large.

Addi’s Story

Addison Kelly was diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and depression at age 15. These mental illnesses were directly caused by trauma she experienced between the ages of 8 to 10 years old when she was sexually abused. The pain she suffered took her on a difficult journey and she struggled with self-harm and other mental health disorders. She was then diagnosed with borderline personality disorder. Even as she fought daily for her mental health, she maintained the most positive attitude and kept a smile on her face. 

When Addi was in treatment, she spoke often about wanting to study to become a therapist and/or psychiatrist when she got older so she could help others who were experiencing similar challenges, especially in Cayman, her beloved home. She had researched colleges which offered programmes in these fields, and in her more hopeful moments was looking forward to making a difference in her world. However, on Tuesday, 8 February 2022, Addi succumbed to her illnesses, taking her life at just 16-years old.

The Addison Kelly Memorial Scholarship Fund was created in 2022 by the Kelly family to enable persons in Cayman who have a desire to help people struggling with mental illnesses do so. It is available to eligible students interested in pursuing a post-graduate degree or other formal certification in the field of mental health from an accredited overseas institution. Administered by the Alex Panton Foundation, all proceeds from the Addison Kelly Butterfly 5k go toward the fund. The first scholarship was awarded in 2023.

Since then, Addi’s family has seen the increased need in the community for more mental health education and awareness, and their desire and motivation to do more in the community in Addi’s name, has both deepened and strengthened. Therefore, the decision was made to change the name of the fund to the Addison Kelly Mental Health Education Fund (AKMHEF) so that the initiative’s focus and reach in the community can be expanded beyond just scholarships. Mental health first aid training is just one of the programmes that the fund will cover and the training sessions have already begun. By the end of 2024, 60 persons in the community are expected to be trained as mental health first aid responders.

The Scholarship

The Addison Kelly Mental Health Education scholarship is awarded to individuals seeking a post-graduate degree in the field of mental health from an accredited overseas institution, with annual renewal subject to academic performance. The scholarship is administered through the Alex Panton Foundation with support from Addi’s family, and offers CI$25,000 per annum for up to 4 years for Caymanians to pursue post-graduate studies in the fields of psychology, psychiatry or psychotherapy. It is awarded every two years (biennially) and recipients must return to work in Cayman for the number of years for which the scholarship was given. The opportunity also includes a mentorship with a doctor level psychologist/mental health provider to support the navigation of this journey.

The Addison Kelly Mental Health Education scholarship is funded primarily from the proceeds of the Addison Kelly Butterfly 5k Walk/Run, the first of which took place on Saturday, 4 February 2023.

NEXT APPLICATION PERIOD: January 2025 for studies starting in Fall 2025.

Are You a Candidate?

  • Caymanian
  • Aged 20 – 35
  • Resident in the Cayman Islands for four years prior to applying
  • Possess an undergraduate degree in a related field
  • Accepted to a competitively ranked and accredited institution to pursue studies in a programme in psychology/psychotherapy
  • Ready to commence studies in August/September of next academic year
  • In strong academic standing with a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.0 or higher
  • Strong communicator with good interpersonal skills, work ethic and character

 The 2023 Recipient

Ms. Jamara Bodden is the first recipient of the Addison Kelly Memorial Scholarship. The funding will allow Ms. Bodden to complete the final year of a two-year online master’s degree programme in psychology and neuroscience of mental health at Kings College London in September, after which time she intends to pursue a Doctor of Psychology (Psy.D) degree in the UK. 

“To be the first awardee of the Addison Kelly Memorial Scholarship is an incredible honour. This scholarship carries a weight of responsibility which motivates me to strive for excellence in my academic pursuits and future career. Receiving this opportunity also fills me with gratitude and humility. I hope to one day pay forward this blessing by using the expertise that I acquire to improve the lives of others.”
-Ms. Jamara Bodden
(Pictured right, between APF Chairperson Jane Panton & APF Committee Member Rhonda Kelly)

The Fundraiser

The Addison Kelly Butterfly 5k Walk/Run was created to honour Addi and to raise funds for the newly renamed Addison Kelly Mental Health Education Fund. The inaugural event was held on 4 February 2023. Subsequent events have taken and will take place on the first Saturday in February each year, marking every year that Addi has been gone and bringing awareness to the importance of mental health.

The 2025 Addison Kelly Butterfly 5k will take place on 1 February. Registration will open on 10 September, which is recognised globally as World Suicide Awareness Day.

Donations

Donations for the Addison Kelly Mental Health Education Fund can be made to:
Bank: Cayman National Bank
Name: Alex Panton Foundation
Account number: 012-74499, KYD Savings