“Don’t give up and ask for help” – David Lawrence Center annual Sound Minds Gala benefits Southwest Florida

Reporter: Jacquelyn Kisic
Published: Updated:

The 56th annual David Lawrence Center, Sound Minds Gala, raised $1.4 million to go towards mental health services for those in Southwest Florida.

Credit: WINK News

According to The David Lawrence Center, the organization offers more than 340,000 life-changing services for those in the region.

The non-profit organization has saved over 9,000 lives from mental or substance abuse. One of those individuals is Blake Becker, who has been sober for 12 and a half years.

“Unfortunately, I was arrested, and I was facing a long jail sentence,” said Becker, “I was back against the wall, almost 30 years old, and couldn’t kick alcohol on my own.”

Becker believes if it were not for The David Lawrence Center, he would not be where he is today. Now, he’s an advocate, business owner, husband and a father.

Chairs of the Sound Minds Gala, John and Dr. Amy Quinn, expressed the importance of breaking the stigma for those who may be suffering to reach out for help.

Dr. Amy Quinn suffered from suicidal thoughts at a younger age but got the resources she needed to graduate college and continue her education.

“Everyone is one degree of separation away from a mental health challenge,” said John Quinn. “So we want to inspire people to acknowledge that.”

According to John Quinn, the number of participants in the event doubled compared to last year. More than 450 people attended the Sound Minds Gala.

Keynote speaker and featured guest for this year’s gala, supermodel and actor Brooke Shields. She opened up about her postpartum depression and her mother’s alcohol abuse.

Dr. Quinn feels many people can relate to Shields’ past struggles.

“It gives people the opportunity to relate to her,” said Dr. Quinn. “Relate to other people that have experienced challenges.” 

Becker said for those who struggle with mental or substance abuse, “Don’t give up and ask for help.”

The next annual event will be held on Thursday, March 20, 2025, at The Ritz-Carlton Naples, Tiburón. It was announced keynote speaker and featured guest will be Dennis Quade.

It was recently released that the cost of a new David Lawernce Center will be a staggering $50 million. The building will hold an 87-bed center on five acres that the nonprofit organization owns, off Golden Gate Parkway by Interstate 75.

David Lawrence said he will be donating the land to the county and will have the contract to run the future county mental health facility.

Gulfshore Life and The Naples Press both sponsored the Sound Minds Gala.

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