One in five youth will suffer from mental health issues and one local organization, which serves as frontline help, is holding a fundraiser to support their ongoing services.

The Evening of Hope Gala and Auction to benefit Peel Children’s Centre will take place Nov. 24, and will include a cocktail reception, silent auction, live entertainment and dinner.

It is the fourth annual evening event of its kind, which started as an annual brunch 29 years ago in 1989.

“The theme of the evening is ‘laughing matters’ is because we wanted to lift everyone’s spirits,” says organizer and Peel Children’s Centre development officer Andrea Peca. “It’s OK to be happy when you’re struggling with certain issues.”

Fittingly, comedian and author Susan Stewart will headline the event. She’s the author of Reaching the Laugh Resort and You Gotta Laugh: Wit and Wisdom About Not Taking Life (Or Yourself) Too Seriously. Capping the night with stand-up comedy, Stewart has titled her segment The Last Laugh.

“What I am most looking forward to is experiencing the joy I get from making people smile and laugh,” she said. “Humour is a powerful stress reliever and mood booster. I welcome each and every opportunity I get to lift people’s spirits. As my battles with depression and anxiety once led me to quitting stand-up comedy, I am delighted to help the Peel Children’s Centre grow stronger and better, to support young people dealing with mental illness.”

According to their website, since 1985, Peel Children’s Centre has provided help and hope to children and youth who are struggling with their mental health. Touted as one of the largest children’s mental health treatment organizations in Canada, they are the lead agency in the child and youth mental health sector for the Region of Peel.

Twenty per cent of children will experience some kind of mental health issues and, by the end of this year, the Centre will have helped more than four thousand vulnerable children and youth in Mississauga, Brampton and Caledon. Services are free and private, provided by a team of mental health workers who assist in a school or home setting.

Bell Let’s Talk – a program by Bell Canada to promote mental health, education and research – is the presenting event sponsor this year. Limited tickets are available, as the event is capped at 250 seats.

IF YOU GO:

Where: Mississauga Grand Banquet and Convention Centre, 35 Brunel Road, Mississauga
Cocktail Reception: 5:30 pm
Tickets: $150
Information or tickets: Andrea Peca, 905-795-3500, Ext 2298 or via email
Tax receipts will be issued to the maximum allowable following the event.

Photo: Susan Stewart, in performance.