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October Newsletter & Updates

October Newsletter & Updates

Welcome to our October newsletter. Earlier this month we honoured World Mental Health Day by producing a video featuring some revealing statistics by a survey conducted in 2020 by the National Drug Council of the Cayman Islands (NDC) surrounding mental health in the youth of the Cayman Islands. This year’s theme was “Making Mental Health a Priority”, which has always been one of our core values.

October is a tender month for our Foundation and we would like to take the opportunity to thank our many supporters, donors and volunteers who have helped make this Foundation possible.

Click the link below to watch the video and keep reading to learn more about what we’ve been up to and what’s to come next month.
Oftentimes, in your daily routine, you are not allowed to take time for you. During times of stress and anxiety, allow yourself to…
  • Wake up early enough so you can take the first hour to ease yourself into the day.
  • Try listening to a mindfulness podcast on your commute to help keep you relaxed as things get busy.
  • Go outside during your lunch break and try breathing deeply.
  • Schedule in exercise through the day – park further away, take the stairs etc.
  • Try something new each day – a new recipe, a new book or try journaling highlights of your day
In order to be the best you that you can be, and to help others to the best of their abilities, you must first be able to take care of yourself. Prioritize yourself, and allow yourself these simple acts of kindness. You deserve it!
Women’s Empowerment Brunch

We were extremely honoured to have been selected as the beneficiary charity for the 2022 Women’s Empowerment Brunch, on Sunday 9th October at the Seafire Kimpton Resort, Grand Cayman.

Time spent networking and enjoying food together allowed for inspiring conversation among like-minded and strong women. Intricate details beautified the event from the Let’s Brunch banner which allowed an opportunity for a photo op following the amazing artwork and items showcased for the silent auction, to the delicate setup inside the event which was completed by the delicious brunch catered by the Seafire Kimpton staff. The mood was set, and all that remained was the powerful speech delivered by each of the guest speakers.

The engaging guest speakers included Youth Ambassador leader, Monina Thompson, Attorney-at-Law, Theresa Pitcairn, Mental health advocate and inspirational speaker, Juliet Bodley, and Deputy Chairperson of the Alex Panton Foundation Hailee Robinson.

The afternoon concluded with raffle prizes and soothing sounds from the event DJ.

The APF would like to extend a heartfelt thanks to Mrs Pearlina McGaw-Lumsden, for putting together this memorable event that was so impactful. Special thanks to the sponsors of the event, Bogle Insurance Brokers Ltd, and our APF Volunteer Janet Mwawali Wali for assisting with the Raffle sale.

Please save the date for Next year’s event which is being held on Sunday 15th October 2023.
7 Mile Row-A-Thon

This high-intensity fundraiser held on 15th October was one for the books! The 7 Mile Row-A-Thon competition was live in a room filled with people competing on various teams with high-energy-filled music motivating them to keep going.

The APF would love to express our gratitude to Carl and his team from the 7-mile Strength and fitness for organizing such a wonderful event and choosing our foundation as the beneficiary of this event
At the beginning of this energy-filled rowing event, one of the organisers and members of 7 Mile Strength and Fitness, Scott Ruby, was presented with the Cayman Islands flag by the Premier of Cayman Islands and Alex’s Dad, Wayne Panton, to fly in the Parade of Nations at the Trifecta Spartan World Championship in Greece for which he left to compete on October 28. Scott, a fitness success story which started right here, has become Cayman’s own “Iron Man” for his age group. He said that it was one of the proudest moments of his life to be presented with the Cayman Flag to fly in Greece as the country he is representing.
Scott says that although he is an American by birth, he is Caymanian by choice and is so privileged to call Cayman home and cannot wait to fly his country’s Flag high. We wish Scott all of the best in this rigorous fitness endeavour, and we know he will do his country proud.   Scott is an avid advocate of giving back to make life better for others. Thank you, Scott, for assisting in organising the rowing event fundraiser for the APF and all of the other things you do to make Cayman a better place for us all.
AIMA event

The APF was extremely grateful for being one of the many beneficiaries at the AIMA Michael Holding event which took place on Friday, 7th October 2022. In attendance were approximately 200 attendees and the total raised was approximately US$25,000.00.

The APF was selected at the request of Michael “Mikey” and Laurie-Ann Holding in honour of their Goddaughter Addi Kelly whom the community lost in February of this year to suicide. In memory of Addi, all funds donated from this event will go to our Financial Assistance Programme to support young people’s access to mental health treatment.

To learn more about the accomplishments of this humble World Cricket Superstar, click the link below.
The APF would like to remind our followers, supporters, friends, and family that they are not alone. Please keep reading for updates on our programmes and support groups created for you, such as Breaking Barriers, our adult support group; Teen Talk, our youth support group; and our new Financial Assistance Programme.

If you’re seeking help, please click the link below to view a number of local resources that can offer help to those who need it.
If you are 30 years old or younger, seeking mental health treatment, and do not have the means to afford it, we are here to help.

Please contact your preferred Partner Service Provider to inquire if you are eligible to apply to our Financial Assistance Programme. For our list of Partner Service Providers, our Policy, and our current Application Form, please visit our website at the link below.

No matter your financial situation, you deserve help. You do not have to suffer alone.
Zippy, Apple and PASSPORT Government school teacher training was held on the 13-14 October. Our Master Trainers delivered the training at Prospect Primary School, Joanna Clark, Red Bay Primary School and Cayman Brac Teachers Center.

Footstep Primary school has recently signed up for the Zippy and Passport training.
The ELP training was held on 24 and 27 October, and we are excited to announce that Clever Fish school has enrolled to the Passport ELP and the training for teachers was held during that time.

These programmes teach children skills for lifetime use, including coping with everyday difficulties, communicating with and getting on with other people, and building self-awareness and emotional resilience. The programmes are suitable for all children and are evidence-based. They are widely used both in the UK and in countries around the world. Currently, we are delivering training for Zippy Friends, Apple Friends, PASSPORT and Spark resilience. For reference, please see:
If your school is interested in receiving training for the Emotional Literacy Programme by Partnership for Children UK, delivered and licensed by the Alex Panton Foundation please contact us at

Dr Erica Lam, Clinical Consultant, APF delivered a 9-hour-long, two-day Trauma informed classroom training in DES, specifically to the counsellor and behaviour support services.

As we continue to develop professionally, the members of the Alex Panton Foundation, Dr Shreya Nauhria, Dr Shari Smith and Ms Charmaine McGowan attended CME (Continuing Medical Education), Lunch and Learn session on Psychiatric Care as part of Palliative care presented by Dr Shapiro Rosenberg, MD, a palliative care physician and psychiatrist in collaboration with local NGO Jasmine Hospice on 7th October 2022). The session was focused on bringing awareness to the palliative needs of patients with mental health diagnoses and their families.

On 5th October 2022, Dr Erica Lam, Clinical Consultant, APF presented data on the Mental Health Section of the CISDUS 2022 with the National Drug Council. For more information, please click the link below.
On 14th October 2022, Dr Shreya Nauhria and Ms Michelle Powell attended the Wellness fair at the Cayman Prep and High School, providing information on the foundation, current and upcoming projects, and how persons can be involved and volunteer with the foundation.
Looking for someone to talk to? We’re here to help!

Breaking Barriers

We invite adults ages 18 and older to join this FREE support group to talk through the ups and downs of living with mental health challenges or simply just to meet others and learn solutions and coping skills through these very unsettling times.

Upcoming dates for the remainder of 2022:
  • 12th November, facilitated by Dr Shari Smith.
  • 26th November, facilitated by Dr Larissa Johnson.

    The new location for Breaking Barriers is George Town Public Library, located in George Town, from 12:30 PM – 2:00 PM.

    Please note that Breaking Barriers will be inactive for December 2022 and January 2023, and will recommence in February 2023. Stay tuned for more details.

    Regardless if what you are dealing with is chronic or new, big or small, everyone is welcome to join.

    For more information, please email our Administrative Coordinator, Michelle, at
  • Teen Talk

    Teen Talk is back in session!

    Teen Talk is our online support group for 13- to 17-year-olds, and takes place every other Saturday from 1:00 PM – 2:00 PM. Facilitator Dr. Shari Smith offers a fun, safe, and interactive platform for teens to learn more about the mental health issues they may be struggling with, ask questions and share challenges on managing anxiety/depression, and be empowered when navigating everyday life challenges.

    Upcoming dates for the remainder of 2022 and topics include:
    • Nov. 5 – Understanding Anxiety
    • Nov. 19 – Talking about Suicide
    • Dec. 3 – Celebrating You
    November 18th & December 1st 2022 – Sunshine Circles Course

    Sunshine Circles are adult-directed, structured play therapy-based groups that incorporate playful, cooperative, and nurturing activities that enhance the emotional well-being of children. Unlike other play therapy-based group approaches, Theraplay learning takes place on a non-verbal level. Instead of talking about positive social behaviour, the group leaders and children DO positive social interaction. Gradually, positive messages from the groups become a part of the child’s internal sense of himself. This training is for professionals who want to use Theraplay in classrooms.

    Sunshine circles is a play-based therapy for children in inclusion units who cannot benefit from the Emotional Literacy Program such as Zippy’s and Apple’s due to their cognitive and emotional ability. These children are often recognised as having a higher number of adversity in life, and diagnosed with mental disorders, and/or attachment difficulties. These reasons make it difficult for them to access narrative-based programmes such as Zippy’s and Apple’s.

    Sunshine Circles training encompasses 13 hours of training over two days. There are no Theraplay prerequisites for this course. Educators, paraprofessionals, mental health consultants, and therapists are most appropriate to attend this course. Sunshine Circles and Group Theraplay can be used with children as young as infants and as old as 18 years of age.

    To learn more, click the link below.
    December 3rd – Theraplay Parenting Course


    Take advantage of this one-day parenting course to learn how to build a strong connection with your child from a Theraplay perspective. Theraplay is a child and family therapy focused on strengthening attachment and supporting attunement. Attuning to your child’s needs can help to reduce unwanted behaviors. You will learn and practice activities designed to engage, nurture, challenge, and provide structure to your child. So come prepared to play!

    If you are a parent or caregiver of a child under the age of 12, this course is designed for you. Insights from the course and modifications to activities can be applied to older children as well. Light refreshments will be provided.

    Mandy Jones, M.S.W., J.D., L.C.S.W., R.P.T., will be a guest speaker at the event. Mandy is a Certified Theraplay® Practitioner, Trainer, and Supervisor-in-Training. She is also the Executive Director at The Theraplay Institute. Mandy has worked almost exclusively with adoptive and foster families since she began her career. She takes a particular interest in helping families with young children form strong attachments and work through sensory concerns.

    Spaces are limited!

    If you would like to attend this event, and require childcare for your little ones, we can help. Please pre-register for the event and request childcare by clicking the link below or emailing by 20th November 2022.
    February 8th – The Addison Kelly Butterfly 5k 

    This event is a fundraising event for the Addison Kelly Memorial Scholarship.

    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 repeatedly 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 Addiwas 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 her beloved home, the Cayman Islands. 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 was created by the Kelly family to enable persons in Cayman who have a desire to help people struggling with mental illnesses do so. Addi had a team of incredible therapists and doctors who helped her through many challenging times, but there is an urgent need in Cayman for more trained specialists in this field.

    The Addison Kelly Memorial Scholarship is available to eligible students interested in pursuing a bachelor’s or master’s 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 will go toward the scholarship fund.
    The 30th October 2022 marks 12 years since Alex Panton succumbed to the severe affects of anxiety and depression. Alex was a bright, funny and ambitious teenager who loved to prank his friends and brother and talked about being doctor like the TV DR House who uncovered the sources of mysterious illnesses. Alex was overcome by a mental illness and up to then it had been a taboo topic and a mysterious illness and so the APF was formed by his parents and his friends to ensure that we uncover the  mysteries about this illness and destigmatize discussing it so it is no longer a taboo topic: breaking the stigma so that people like Alex do not have to feel like they are suffering in silence. Alex left a huge void in the hearts of everyone that knew him. Our hearts still ache like it was yesterday even though it was 12 years ago.

    October is a difficult month for the Founders and committee members of the Alex Panton Foundation, but we would like to take this opportunity to reflect on everything we have achieved thus far as a Mental Health Foundation, with a goal of helping kids like Alex.

    Since our conception, we have established many initiatives that have helped to positively impact the community of the Cayman Islands. These include:
    • Our Annual Youth Mental Health Symposium which takes place in February each year, around Alex’s birthday, and is now a highly anticipated event bringing together teachers, students, parents, carers, mental health service providers and the wider public to learn more about mental health issues and coping skills.
    • The Youth Ambassador Programme for teens and young adults to get together, discuss and plan events focused on integrating mental health support for our youth.
    • The Zippy’s & Apple’s Friends Emotional Literacy Programme, our school-based programme to help students become more resilient and emotionally intelligent adults.
    • Our two free support groups, Breaking Barriers and Teen Talk.
    • Our Financial Assistance Programme to help those thirty years old and younger who are in need of mental health support and cannot otherwise afford it.

    All of these progammes and initiatives are aimed at helping groups in our community access mental health assistance and support at no cost to them. Other initiatives in the pipeline include our Youth Mental Health Hub in collaboration with the HSA and our Mental Health Hotline, in partnership with the Cayman Islands Crisis Centre.

    None of this could be possible without the overwhelming support of the community and our wonderful donors and sponsors. We are forever grateful.

    Alex’s memory will never be forgotten and we know that he would be proud of everything we have accomplished as a Foundation in his honor.

    For those of you, like Alex, who are struggling in silence, please reach out to someone you trust and visit our website to learn more about how you can seek help. Please know that you are not alone. Bringing internal pain to the surface by acknowledging it and talking about it is the first step to healing.