WESTFIELD, Ind. – The City of Westfield, in partnership with the Westfield Washington School System and the Hamilton County Community Foundation, announced the launch of a community-wide initiative, the Well-being Coalition of Westfield.
The group is focused working on improving well-being across the spectrum of health—mental, physical, social, emotional and spiritual—by bettering community-wide processes, resources and training opportunities.
A recent survey found that 17 percent of sixth graders at Westfield Intermediate School reported feeling sad or hopeless for two or more weeks in a row. An additional, 7 percent reported considering suicide.
"It concerns me and we hear about the stress these kids face. We hear about the sense of despair," said Mayor Andy Cook.
Fishers launched a campaign to break down the stigma associated with mental health a few years ago. Westfield wants to expand that program in their community.
"I expect Westfield to lead the state in this initiative of our mental and emotional health," Cook said.
Suzanne Clifford, CEO of Inspiring Transformations, is part of the coalition. She's helped others in dozens of states improve their outcomes. Clifford has researched how stress impacts a person's overall health. She said suicide is at a 30-year high across the country.
"With technology and 24/7 of bombardment of the brain, we have to raise kid differently so we make sure kids, families and youth have the resources they need," Clifford said.
The Well-being Coalition convened a cross-community group to drive action with input from public safety agencies, as well as school, religious, non-profit, business, health care and sports organizations. The group will launch its webpage and release its strategic action plan to the community in May during National Mental Health Month. Anyone wanting to get involved can email communications@Westfield.in.gov.