“It is important to raise awareness about mental health struggles amongst young people,” says Elizabeth Booth. “It is very real and is happening all of the time and our youth need to know that it is okay to talk about it and not be embarrassed.”
Booth is coordinating a fundraiser, The Laquan, in memory of her son, Quinton Groomes, who died by suicide in October 2018. Groomes struggled with mental health challenges and Booth has been bringing awareness to the community about the seriousness of mental health and the well-being of youth. ‘The Laquan’ was Groomes’ nickname.
The event will be held at the Royal Canadian Legion in Huntsville with a variety of live bands and a silent auction to raise funds in support of the Muskoka Youth Mental Health and Wellness Fund at the Muskoka Community Foundation. Doors open at 7:00 p.m.; tickets are $20 each.
Groomes loved hunting so there will also be orange t-shirts for sale with “The Laquan” on the front along with a Browning hunting symbol. T-shirts are $20 and are available now at Elizabeth’s Hair n’ There Salon and at the event. Booth offered her thanks to That Little Place By the Lights for their support of the t-shirts.
The idea of the shirts is to have everyone wear them to the event and have a “sea of orange” representing Groomes.
Booth said that everyone has been fantastic and the event would not be taking place without all of the people who have supported her and the cause with their “big hearts”. Donations are already being made to the Muskoka Youth and Mental Health and Wellness Fund and have surpassed the $5,000 mark.
The fund will provide youth between the ages of 10-24 access to support as well as treatments for mental health within the community that they may not have known they had available to them. Lynn Decaro, Executive Director of the Muskoka Community Foundation, said, “This fund will provide financial support through grants to mental health and wellness programs that serve young people in Muskoka. Our goal is to be able to award our first grants in 2020.”
DeCaro also added, “According to Youth Mental Health Canada, suicide is the second leading cause of death for Canadians between the ages of 10 and 24. Stigma or discrimination attached to mental illnesses presents a serious barrier, not only to diagnosis and treatment but also to acceptance in the community. We need to start having open and honest conversations about this.”
If you are interested in supporting The Laquan event, contact Elizabeth Booth at [email protected] or join everyone in memory of Quinton Groomes at the Huntsville Legion on Saturday, October 26 at 7 p.m.
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