The Avery Burton Foundation (ABF), a nonprofit 501c.3 created to reduce the stigma around mental health through mental health outreach and education, recently received a $25,000 grant from the Las Vegas Raiders Foundation.
In July the ABF was invited to participate in a Las Vegas Raiders employee event in recognition of Minority Mental Health Awareness Month and to promote awareness and education when it comes to mental health issues. ABF Founder Reggie Burton, who lost his eldest son, Avery, to suicide six years ago, was a co-presenter at the event to members of Employee Resource Groups B.A.S.E.D and PACED. The Raiders have taken a proactive approach in addressing mental health by providing guidance and building ongoing support from within their organization.
“There’s statistics out there related to mental health,” said Amir Zaffa of the Las Vegas Raiders and a member of B.A.S.E.D. “It’s problematic. The Raiders have been game changers in sports and obviously the NFL as a whole, and we look to continue those things because, again, this matters. Mental health matters.”
This generous donation will be used to support the ABF Mental Health Champions Training Program, where adults and youth are taught how to assist people in potential mental health crisis, the ABF student scholarship program as well as customized programming designed to provide culturally competent resources, especially for minority communities.
“The mental health stigma is something we, as a community, as a nation, need to address,” ABF Board Member Christina Aldan said. “We are very grateful for the Las Vegas Raiders support and their $25,000 grant and the opportunity to partner with them in addressing mental health and wellness. We encourage more companies like the Raiders to develop mental health employee education programs and to support mental health organizations, both financially and through volunteer participation when appropriate.”
ABF was founded by Burton and his family to honor his son, Avery Rashawn Burton, who two months after graduating from the University of Nevada Las Vegas (UNLV) suffered a major depressive episode and took his life in July 2017 at age 22. He had just received his degree in May 2017 in kinesiological science and planned to pursue a doctoral degree in physical therapy at UNLV.