Carmel Magazine

Carmel Magazine, Holiday-11.14

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Staying a Step Ahead of Tragedy D uring an August fundraising event in Pebble Beach, filmmaker and photographer Peter Rodger discussed how mental illness impacts young people nationwide. He also spoke of his own son, who killed six individuals near the University of Santa Barbara earlier this year. "You could have heard a pin drop in the room when he star ted speaking," says Tradewinds Carmel owner Susan Stilwell, who hosted the event. "He was so powerful in his speech, and he also sent a positive message about what needs to be done." The event brought in more than $250,000 for AIM for Mental Health, Stilwell's new nonprofit that is increasing awareness and raising money for mental health research as it relates to chil- dren, teens and young adults. This population faces high rates of illness: Anxiety, depression, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and other issues affect up to one in five children, estimates the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and suicide is the third leading cause of death among 10- to 24-year-olds. While finding new treatments is important, Stilwell wants her organization to do even more. "We want to talk about finding cures," she says. AIM operates under the umbrella of One Mind Institute and IMHRO (International Mental Health Research Organization), groups collabo- rating to fund research on schizophrenia, bipolar disorders, depression and other brain diseases. The affiliation keeps AIM's operating costs low and links it to top scientists in the field. As she establishes the nonprofit, Stilwell is also working with exper ts at Stanford's Lucile Packard Children's Hospital and the Center for the Assessment and Prevention of Prodromal States (CAPPS) at UCLA. Her two teenagers, Sydney and Richard, are involved, as well. Sydney organized a community walk that AIM held in Pacific Grove this October. Making a difference starts with raising visibility, believes Stilwell. "My goal is to make this a campaign for everyone, not just for those affected," she says. For information on mental illness, and to support AIM for Mental Health, visit — Renee Brincks SHORTCUTS HEALTH 72 C A R M E L M A G A Z I N E • H O L I D A Y 2 0 1 4 Susan Stilwell has founded AIM, a nonprofit to increase awareness of mental health prob- lems in children and teens. Suicide is the third highest cause of death of 10 to 24 year olds. Photo: Kelli Uldall

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