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Westfield council presents wellbeing coalition findings

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An online survey for the Wellbeing Coalition of Westfield found things the coalition expected and also other discoveries it did not expect.

Kyle Miller, the director of social emotional learning at Westfield Washington Schools, presented an update on the survey, which was conducted from January to February 2020, at the Dec. 14 Westfield City Council meeting. Miller said the purpose of the survey was to get a baseline measure of the overall wellbeing in Westfield.

Some of the survey questions measured things such as overall life satisfaction. Out of the 1,200 residents that took the survey, the vast majority of them answered 7 to 10 on the 1 to 10 scale, with 10 being completely satisfied.

Survey takers also responded well to whether they were living their worst possible life or best possible life, with the majority of residents responding in the 7 to 9 range.

The survey also measured how many residents were diagnosed with a health condition over the past year.

“One of the things that stuck out to us was mental health conditions were diagnosed at a greater rate than asthma, diabetes, heart problems or cancer at 8.42 percent,” Miller said.

The survey also showed that Westfield residents are stressed, with 59.19 percent responding they were stressed some or most of the time, 6.62 percent claiming they were stressed all or almost all of the time, 13 percent claiming they were stressed none or almost none of the time.

“Stress is weighing on our residents a little bit,” Miller said.

When it comes to sadness though, that number goes down, with only 3 percent of residents saying they felt sad all of the time or almost all of the time.

Something else the survey found was the rise in feelings of loneliness.

“We know loneliness is something on the rise for sure. Six to 7 percent of residents responded and said ‘I’m lonely most of the time or all of the time,’ and that was a bit surprising to us,” Miller said.

Council member Jake Gilbert also spoke about the survey.

“We are focused on adults with that survey, and we know that even if say 90 percent of our residents are doing great with mental health, 10 percent is still 4,500 people,” Gilbert said. “We need to make sure as a community if there are ways to help residents with mental health that we do that.”

The survey also found that Westfield residents don’t serve at nonprofits very often.

“We have a very generous community, but this one was a surprise to all of us and we feel like with all the great opportunities we have for nonprofits there’s lots of opportunities to serve, but we found out residents aren’t serving all that often. The majority, 57 percent, are serving less than monthly,” Gilbert said.

The survey also identified a lack in public spaces for residents to gather, with almost 30 percent of survey takers saying they felt availability for social/community events was bad or very bad.  Residents also gave the city a poor rating in arts and cultural opportunities.

“There are things coming to the community with Grand Junction and the Westfield Playhouse,” Gilbert said. “Over 60 percent of residents rated arts and cultural opportunities as bad or very bad.”

The survey resulted in the establishment of four goals – improving access to mental health care for residents, promoting community events where residents can connect, providing opportunities to meet people and make personal connections and embracing all cultures through individual connection.

“With these four main goals emerging, we are now on point for 2021 with several subcommittees to take some action steps and find out exactly what we need and see if there’s an ask of the community or businesses or the council or anything going forward,” Gilbert said. “We want to make sure we are doing everything we can with grants and opportunities through nonprofits to really serve people in the community.”

For more, visit wellbeingcoalitionwestfield.com.


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