Pebble Beach >> AIM for Mental Health, an organization that devotes itself to the mental health of children, teens and young adults will hold its annual gala next month to raise funds for clinical research to find better treatments and cures, while raising awareness about the issue.

The local nonprofit will host its fourth annual AIM for the Cures gala at the Parc du Concours at the Equestrian Center in Pebble Beach Aug. 17 from 5 to 9 p.m. during Classic Car Week. Tickets and sponsorships start at $500.

“Exactly three years ago we had our first fund-raising gala,” said Susan Stilwell, co-founder of AIM. “We put it together in eight weeks and raised $250,000.”

At this year’s event, “Saturday Night Live” alum and best-selling author Darrell Hammond will emcee and perform at the gala, which has raised over $1 million since its inaugural event in 2014.

In June 2014, Stilwell formed AIM with two of her children. The organization became a charitable campaign under the fiscal sponsorship of the International Mental Health Research Organization now called One Mind Institute, until AIM received its own nonprofit status in 2016.

Stilwell’s personal thread to the cause she currently champions is connected to her mother, who battled anxiety when Stilwell was a young girl growing up in Carmel.

“What she went through in the 60s, 70s and 80s, … there just were no good answers,” said Stilwell. “Even today, with anxiety, there are some treatments — some better than others — but still no cures. I thought it was odd that with all the charities, there was nothing focusing on mental health or brain research.”

Stilwell’s organization works to build a movement to fund clinical research that seeks solutions for mental health disorders in youth that includes ADHD, anxiety, depression, mood disorders, schizophrenia, Tourette’s syndrome and autism spectrum disorders.

It is guided by a scientific advisory board made up of top clinical pediatric doctors and researchers from around the nation and the U.K. AIM’s board of directors works with the advisory board to determine what cutting-edge research to fund, and is not disorder or institution specific.

Yale School of Medicine, Oxford University, Hofstra Northwell, Emory, UC Berkeley, UC San Francisco, Stanford, University of Washington, UCLA, USC, and Harvard are represented on the advisory board.

“It’s all about doing something now for kids,” said Stilwell. “We don’t want to be focused on the macro.”

Stilwell said AIM for Mental Health is more committed than ever to finding successful treatments and cures for mental health disorders in children and young adults.

And it aims to expand its message to other communities starting with Southern California, where the first AIM for Awareness University Rally at USC attracted over 500 people in support of youth mental health earlier this year.

After the gala in Pebble Beach, AIM will host its annual walk and rally at Lovers Point in Pacific Grove in October to raise awareness locally.

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