Jane Panton continues to advocate for the community to recognize of emotional and psychological needs of Cayman’s children.
Seven years ago Mrs. Panton said goodbye to her son, Alex, who took his own life.
This week is Children’s Mental Health week and she’s starting a foundation designed to help other children in need all in honour of Alex.
“Alex is my son who I lost at 16 years old from severe effects of depression and it was a devastating blow to our family and not just the family but the wider community of the Cayman Islands,” said Mrs. Panton.
She said her son Alex would have been 24 this year.
“When he didn’t want to go into school in the mornings and he would have a really bad tummy ache and we’d be late for school every day I just thought he was turning into a rebellious teenager but it was signs of anxiety that I did not know,” said Mrs. Panton.
She said she had no clue how much her little boy was suffering.
Mrs. Panton said, “I just never knew the depth and the extent of it and the main thing that came out of all of this, that I felt that I didn’t understand my child. I didn’t see the symptoms that were there, so I thought we need to ensure that this doesn’t happen to another family.”
Fast forward to today, she is starting the Alex Panton Foundation and is aiming to help others.
She said, “We need to do something and form a foundation… because I didn’t find anything available to me at the time when Alex was going through it.”
She said she just hopes the Foundation provides much needed support.
“We don’t profess to have the answers now but were wanting to be a source for those answers,” she added.
When asked what would Alex think all of her efforts, she responded.
“He would be so upset that his name is all over the place… he would say ‘Mom what are you doing?’ You know, but he was just that dear to me and I think he would be proud that I’m finally understanding what he was going through and helping others so that they don’t go through it. So really I think he would be proud,” she said.