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Celebrating and honouring Alex’s life – APF’s achievements thus far.

Celebrating and honouring Alex’s life – APF’s achievements thus far.

As many of you who stand behind our cause know, today, October 30th, marks nine years since we lost Alex to his battle with anxiety and depression. In honour of this day, the Alex Panton Foundation (APF) would like to highlight some of the goals we have achieved since our inception in 2016, as well as the many milestones we have proudly accomplished.

Since our inception we have had two mental health symposiums bringing together clinicians and the community to shed a light on services available to those suffering with mental health issues and to discuss issues affecting youth mental health. We plan to have our third annual symposium in February 2020.

In 2018, the National Drug Council Student Drug Use Survey (CISDUS) was conducted in collaboration with APF, producing national statistics on mental health amongst adolescents in the Cayman Islands. The expanded mental health component will continue to be integrated in the biannual CISDUS going forward. 

We have held free community workshops throughout Grand Cayman and Cayman Brac in collaboration with Ministry of Community Affairs on topics such as Young Men at Risk, Bullying & Mental Health and Self Harm Prevention. APF ensures that every district of the community is engaged to make certain that no one feels alone where mental health is concerned.

We have held and continue to hold free support groups for members of the community with the help of our generous sponsors Cayman National Bank, such as Living with Anxiety and Depression and the Suicide Bereavement Support Group in conjunction with the Bethesda Counselling Centre.

We launched the Youth Ambassador Programme (YAP) in August 2019 to help build resilience and inspire hope through assisting young people on developing their own path forward. YAP offers teens and adolescents the opportunity to earn the title of “Youth Ambassador” through fun activities designed to challenge specific skills and provoke discussion to bring about necessary social change for a society where all can feel accepted for being who they are. YAP is designed to validate what young people are experiencing, recognise their strengths and inform and connect them with other resources if needed. 

We have purchased the copyright license to an internationally recognized evidence-based programme to make emotional literacy learning available to children aged 5 to 9 years old for the first time in the history of the Cayman Islands. The two programmes currently being offered are Zippy’s friends (5-7 years old) and Apple’s Friends (7-9 years old) which are set to commence in November 2019. APF is proud to have secured licenses for these programmes used in over 30 countries worldwide and recognized by the World Health Organisation. The Cayman Islands will also be the first country in the world to launch the Apple and Zippy programmes to be inclusive of children with special needs. The programmes teach life skills at a young age when children are developing emotionally and physically with the goal of building healthier and emotionally resilient adults. 

APF consists of a group of dedicated board members and volunteers who work incredibly hard to organise, plan and execute these events, support groups and initiatives and we would not be the successful, proactive foundation that we are today without each and every one of them. We are also grateful for the amount of support we have had from the community of the Cayman Islands over the past few years who have encouraged and accepted APF with open arms.  We could not do it without you, Cayman. Finally, we would like to extend a special thank you to our generous donors whom have helped tremendously by funding our events and support groups. 

APF is unwaveringly committed to continue to spread awareness, educate and provide support to the young people and carers, namely family members, friends and teachers, of the Cayman Islands struggling with mental health conditions.

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