Westborough groups mark Mental Health Awareness Month

179

WESTBOROUGH – Mental Health Awareness Month, taking place last month, may have come to an end. 

But local groups in Westborough emphasize that resources highlighted as part of their ongoing Square One initiative remain available to the community. 

Square One rallies groups

Square One is a collaborative partnership between the Westborough Public Schools, Westborough Youth and Family Services, the Westborough Rotary Club, the Westborough Public Library and Westborough Connects.

It, indeed, marked Mental Health Awareness Month by emphasizing different resources and programming opportunities available to support people throughout the community, compiling a Mental Health Resource List distributed both in print and electronically. 

“We have heard as we have our programs that people want to hear about the topics, but then also say, ‘Now what do I do? Where do I go? Where do I start?’” Westborough Connect Program Manager Laura Cerniglia said in a recent interview. “We thought a mental health resource guide would be a good place to start.”

The list provides resources available at town, regional, national and educational levels. It was also translated into Spanish, Portuguese, Chinese and Arabic.

Resources include everything from school guidance counselors to regional and national helplines. 

Those lines, in turn, specialize in topics ranging from parental stress to substance use to suicidal thoughts.

Screening tool still available on YFS website

Speaking earlier this month, Youth and Family Services Director Cara Presley said that she wants to continually promote discussions about mental health without shame or embarrassment.

“My goal for Mental Health Awareness Month is to really destigmatize the conversation about mental health, to grow awareness about mental health and mental illness, and to increase access to services,” Presley said.

Presley highlighted a free mental health screening tool on the Youth and Family Services website. Fully anonymous, the tool provides multiple different screenings that individuals can choose.

It will be on the Youth and Family Services website at least for the next year, possibly remaining in place for a longer period of time depending on its usage.

The screenings are not limited to Westborough residents.

“It doesn’t give a clear-cut diagnosis because people need to see a professional to get a diagnosis, but it gives a pretty clear understanding of what their risk is for different mental health disorders,” Presley said of the screening tool.

Identifying risks, the tool also provides resources encouraging individuals to get help after their screenings.

Presley, who held a Coffee with Cara outreach event this month to discuss available programs and resources, noted that the Youth and Family Services department continues to provide free counseling and clinical consultation services to Westborough residents. 

The services are for all ages and completely anonymous. 

Youth and Family Services also provides resource and referral services.

‘It…calls people into action’

Cerniglia said that it is always important to talk about mental health. Having the month of May set as Mental Health Awareness Month, though, also has advantages, she said. 

“I think by having a month it kind of calls people into action,” Cerniglia said. “It kind of puts people on notice to take some action on what we can do.”

All programs offered through Square One are completely free. 

Westborough Connects, meanwhile, is looking for volunteers to help with its offerings.

Read the Square One resource list at: https://www.westboroughconnects.org/resources. 

And utilize Westborough Youth and Family Services’ screening tool at: https://screening.mentalhealthscreening.org/westboroughyfs. 

RELATED CONTENT

New data highlights student mental health issues, Shrewsbury school staff say

Area counseling, social service organizations face pandemic’s impact on mental health

Shrewsbury High senior raises over $4,000 for mental health