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Cayman’s First Mental Health Peer Support Group for Young Adults, a Success

23rd May 2019 George Town, Grand Cayman: The Alex Panton Foundation (APF)
announced this week that the Cayman Islands’ first mental health peer-led support
group for young adults, which was launched in April, is a success. The group welcomes
young persons between the ages of 18 and 25 who are living with anxiety and depression. Sessions are being held every Saturday from 3pm – 4.30pm at the George Town town hall.
The free and confidential peer-led group has been developed to create a community for young adults living with anxiety and depression, where they can share their experiences and the impact it has had on their lives, in a safe, confidential and supportive environment.
The group is sponsored by Cayman National Bank and being facilitated by Shane Purcell, a seasoned facilitator and board member of the Alex Panton Foundation. Mr. Purcell is trained and experienced in mental health facilitation and previously worked with the mental health support group
Aware in Ireland, as well as facilitating support and self-care groups in St. James Hospital.

Since the APF’s inception in February 2018, and following its second successful annual Youth Mental Health Symposium in February this year, they have received feedback from the community indicating the need for a peer-led support group. The APF has launched the group to fulfil that need and this is just one of several initiatives the Foundation is rolling out this year.

“I am excited to be bringing my extensive experience to facilitate the group and I believe it will be really well received. If you are a young person between the ages of 18– 25 who is suffering from depression or anxiety, or know someone who is, then we encourage you to join us, in this welcoming, non-judgmental environment” said Mr. Purcell.

Mental health peer-led support groups are widespread in many countries such as the UK and US and enable participants to share experiences as well as give and receive nonprofessional advice to and from individuals with similar conditions. They can provide benefits such as helping group members feel less lonely, isolated or judged and can enable a sense of empowerment through mutual support.

They can also help with coping skills and create a safe place to talk openly and about very personal feelings, knowing that other members may be going through similar experiences and can relate. They can be an effective medium for sharing resources and information on things such
as doctors, counsellors or treatment options.

APF Chairperson Jane Panton believes that the first step to overcoming one’s inner struggles is to talk about them, and talking about them in a safe, confidential and secure environment with others who are facing the same issues will help raise one’s confidence level to continue to find ways to heal their inner pain. She hopes that the young people between 18 and 25 struggling with anxiety and depression will take advantage of this
outlet to express themselves while helping others at the same time.

For more information on the Alex Panton Foundation’s peer-led support group, please email info@alexpantonfoundation.ky.

About the Alex Panton Foundation

The Alex Panton Foundation (APF) is a Non-Profit Organisation founded by Jane and Wayne Panton, in memory of their son Alex. The APF’s mission is to improve the mental health of children and young adults in the Cayman Islands through advocacy, awareness and support. It aims to provide hope and educational resources to those suffering from anxiety, depression and other mental illnesses, as well as providing information and support to friends, family, teachers, students, carers and the wider population. It also seeks to address discrimination and the widespread stigma of mental
illness.

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