Family of Keaton Burton raise £7,000 for mental health charities in his honour
The family of a Sunderland teenager who took his own life have held a fundraising night with proceeds going to two North East mental health charities.
Keaton Burton, aged 19, tragically died in June 2019 after leaving a ward where he was being treated for his mental health difficulties.
Following an inquest into his death in January, his mum, Jessica Talbot, voiced her concerns about others that could be suffering alone and urged anyone who is struggling with their mental health to speak up.
As part of her work to raise awareness that mental health charities are there to help anyone who is having issues, she held a fundraising night at Sunderland’s Roker Hotel on Friday, November 5.
Ninety prizes, which had been donated by local businesses, were raffled off over the course of the night which resulted in £7,000 being raised for Sunderland Mind and Chester-le-Street based If U Care Share.
The 42-year-old, from Ashbrooke, said: “The event was planned to be around this time last year as it would have been when Keaton was supposed to turn 21.
"I was really surprised at the amount that we’ve managed to raise, I didn’t realise how well the raffle tickets would actually sell and I cannot thank all the local businesses and everyone who has donated enough for all the help.
"I hope that the money will be able to make a big difference to the charities and it should mean that they are able to continue helping families who have been in my situation.”
As well as raising money for charity, the event also aimed to raise awareness of the services that are on offer to help those struggling with mental health.
Jessica added: “People, especially young people, need to know that these organisations are there for them and can help.
"I think a lot of people don’t realise that they are there to help those in need especially as something needs to change because the NHS just cannot cope with the sheer volume of mental health cases.
"The North East has one of the highest rates of suicide and these organisations can offer support.”