The Springfield Youth Mental Health Coalition is convened by the Public Health Institute of Western Massachusetts. The Coalition consists of a stellar advisory board and an outstanding youth advisory board, known as "Beat the Odds," led by Ariana Williams, Director of Public Health at Martin Luther King Jr. Family Services.
In 2019 we embarked on a year long planning process to identify an existing health concern exacerbated by the presence of a casino in Springfield, MA. The Advisory Board gathered diverse community and content expert input as well as data from existing community health needs assessments. The planning process narrowed from a list of fifteen potential issues to one - youth behavioral health.
Youth behavioral health is a serious concern in Springfield as raised by local data, community voices, and local content experts. Risks to youth behavioral health include gambling and the presence of a casino, and also go far beyond that issue.
- Dr. Alisa Ainbinder, Public Health Institute of Western MA
- Ariana Williams, Martin Luther King Jr. Family Services
- Chrismery Gonzalez, Springfield Office of Health and Racial Equity
- Chelan Brown, Behavioral Health Network
- David Lewis, African Diaspora Mental Health Association
- Deidre Hussey, Baystate Health Family Advocacy Center
- Dr. Mimi O’Neill, Springfield Public Schools
- Frank Robinson, Baystate Health
- Holly Richardson, Out Now
- Jessica Collins, Public Health Institute of Western MA
- Joesiah Gonzalez, New North Citizens Council
- Julie Donovan, Springfield Public Schools
- Katherine Mague, Behavioral Health Network
- Kimberley Lee, Mental Health Association, Inc.
- Madeline Aviles - Hernandez, Gándara Center
- Malikah Jeffries, Gándara Center
- Rebecca Johnson, Baystate Health
- Shabazz Wilson, Behavioral Health Network
- Tamera Crenshaw, Tools for Success Counseling, LLC
- Ysabel Garcia, Estoy Aqui Community
We would like to thank the Massachusetts Department of Public Health Office of Problem Gambling Services and the Davis Foundation for supporting this important work in Springfield!
What's Next for the Coalition?
Provide community education and professional development to parents, guardians, educators, behavioral health providers, etc. to educate about and normalize mental health within the Springfield community. View our Mental Health Training Opportunities.
Work with AxiomBlue and experts in our City to design a “normalizing youth mental health” communications campaign that will be geared toward youth and parents, guardians, and caregivers;
Identify a near-to-peer mentoring model to pilot and advise on infrastructure development;
Work with the Public Health Institute of Western MA and the Youth Health Survey Advisory Group to disseminate the Youth Health Survey 2021 Findings; and
Continue to work with the Springfield Public School team to support their efforts working with students and families.