To celebrate National Mental Health Awareness Month, and in recognition of the difficult times many in the community have experienced over the past three years, the Westfield Mental Health Council will present a Mental Health Day of free activities on April 30.

The day begins with a “Walk for Cake” in Mindowaskin Park from 10:30 a.m. to noon. CAKE stands for the town’s emphasis on Compassion, Acceptance, Kindness and Empathy. Check in on the interior park road adjacent to the gazebo and enjoy a walk in the park punctuated with stations highlighting aspects of wellness such as yoga, music, art, meditation and pet therapy. Celebrate completion of your walk with a scrumptious treat.

New to the event this year are The New Jersey Mental Health Players, a division of the Mental Health Association in New Jersey, who will give two interactive performances focusing on how to build a stigma-free community. This award-winning community education program uses role-playing, improvisation and audience participation to increase awareness and break the silence often associated with mental health. These volunteer actors are culturally diverse and include teens, adults and seniors. They will perform at 11 a.m. on the bandstand in Mindowaskin Park and once again at 1 p.m. at the Bauer Branch of the Westfield Area YMCA.

From 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., there will be a number of activities at the Bauer Y, including:

  • 11 a.m. – Meditation
  • 11:40 a.m. – Caring Contact: Helping Someone in an Emotional Crisis
  • 12:20 p.m. – Food for Mood
  • 1 p.m. – The New Jersey Mental Health Players: Building Emotional Resiliency from the Inside Out
  • Journaling – ongoing
  • Art Therapy – ongoing

Resources will be available from a wide variety of mental health-related organizations and many area bakeries are donating “CAKE” for all attendees.

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