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A Friend’s Suicide Inspires Cortny

Lidia Harding
Donor Spotlight Giving Youth and Family Counseliing

Mental health became a priority for Cortny Bourbonnais (she/her) shortly after high school graduation when she lost a childhood friend to suicide.

“This was my first experience with suicide, but I could not understand how this happy-go-lucky guy I grew up with had chosen to end his own life.”

Growing up on the Eastside

Cortny grew up seeing YES’ impact on the East King County community. When she was invited to attend YES’ Invest in Youth Breakfast, she learned more about our community’s mental health crisis. In 2015, Cortny joined YES’ Young Ambassadors group and dove into fundraising efforts.

The impact of a friend’s suicide

Witnessing the impact of her friend’s untreated mental health conditions made Cortny understand how critical mental healthcare is, especially for young people. She believes youth need the necessary coping skills for life’s challenges and to receive early intervention for more severe conditions. Then they have a chance to grow and reach their full potential.

A passion for ensuring support for youth

Now, Cortny is a YES Board of Trustees member and serves on the Board Development Committee. Through her passion and hard work, she ensures that children and youth can access quality mental health services, regardless of their ability to pay.

“Children and youth are our future,” Cortny said. “I want everyone in our community to have the opportunity to reach their full potential, and supporting mental health is so critical for this.”

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