AIM for Mental Health Raises Over Half Million Dollars for Kids Mental Health Research


When news broke on August 17th that Rosie O'Donnell's 17-year-old daughter Chelsea, who is suffering from an undisclosed mental illness, was missing and had run away after stopping taking her medicine, AIM For Mental Health on the Monterey Peninsula had just concluded their second annual fundraiser generating over $500,000 to treat and find cures for children just like Chelsea. 

Chelsea's case, and a dozen similar examples of mental health tragedies in the news each week, put a very public face on the one out of five adolescents with a diagnosable mental health disorder and nearly one in four who show symptoms of depression, according to the latest research by the Department of Health and Human Services. Their findings are that the first indication of symptoms usually present themselves between the ages of 11 and 14 and less than half receive any kind of treatment.

AIM for Mental Health, founded by Pebble Beach residents Susan and Mark Stilwell and championed by their three teenaged children are coalescing community support, stimulating dialogue and doing something to change how mental health in kids is perceived, treated and ultimately cured.

AIM for the Cures, the fundraiser on August 13th during Monterey Car Week, held adjacent to the Gooding & Company Auction site, was attended by over 400 Monterey Peninsula residents and visiting car aficionados, and featured speakers involved in cutting-edge research at the nation's top medical facilities and universities, as well as legislative advocates.

Santa Cruz native and American Idol James Durbin, who lives with Tourette’s and Asperger’s Syndromes, and Isabella Nicole, the 13-year-old blues and jazz singing phenom, provided Tonight Show caliber entertainment and inspiration.   Charlie Ross, Gooding & Company’s auctioneer, stimulated the donors’ natural generosity at the live auction.

Proceeds from ticket sales, contributions and a dozen platinum-plus auction items exceeded last year's inaugural event by more than double. A particularly heartening contribution, inspired by the evening’s speakers, was designated to underwrite a Rising Star research grant to fund ground-breaking and critical brain research in the area of teen anxiety and depression.

For more information about the community-wide walk coming this Fall in Pacific Grove, or to become involved in the AIM for Mental Health campaign, please visit the website: aimformentalhealth.org.