The Pittsfield Wellness Coalition held its first meeting on November 12, with twenty-three community members and school district educators in attendance. The coalition met as a follow-up to the Chris Herren school and community presentations in September on the topic of addiction.
During the meeting, guest Annika Stanley-Smith, substance misuse prevention coordinator with the Capital Area Public Health Network, shared data from the most recent Youth Risk Behavior Survey anonymously completed by PMHS grades 9-12 students in spring 2013.
As a result of the data review, our Pittsfield Coalition identified nine “major concerns” centering on a range of risk taking behaviors of Pittsfield’s young people. The Coalition then identified the top three priorities for its attention and action in promoting youth wellness in Pittsfield: (1) heroin, methamphetamine, and opiate misuse; (2) alcohol misuse, and (3) mental health.
The Coalition plans to focus first on its top priority and will be reviewing a range of proven strategies for supporting youth wellness. Ms. Stanley-Smith will continue to support of the work of the Coalition in this important work.
The Wellness Coalition will next meet from 6:00 to 7:30 p.m. on Monday, November 30, in the PMHS media center. The meeting agenda will include completion of the Coalition’s charter and consideration of evidence-based strategies to prevent addiction. All Pittsfield residents are invited to participate.