Wellness in Tough Times

programs currently available supporting rural well-being. One of the focuses of the WTT project included opportunities for in-person events to start the conversation around mental well-being. N2N- Buffalo had experience organizing tailgate events to bring people together as a support mechanism and an opportunity for education on mental well-being. WTT planned to use the N2N-Buffalo model to expand the face-to-face outreach to WTT pilot locations across the state. In March 2020, the global pandemic forced WTT to cancel all plans for face-to-face programs. The WTT team shifted to community-led projects with hopes of taking part in larger events like tailgates in the future. We have adapted the concept of N2N-Buffalo to our quarterly newsletter for community advocates called “Neighbor to Neighbor Notes: Inspiring Rural Wellness.”

If you are interested in organizing a community event, here are a few tips that work for N2N-Buffalo:

 Each community is unique, with their own individual resources, culture, and characteristics. This is true even though communities may be located near one another. Remember to work with each community separately.  Invite partners to join your taskforce. Who are the stakeholders interested in this type of project?

 It is recommended that you include behavioral health services as one of your partners.

 Are your partners representative of populations in the communities?

 When preparing for a community event, create packets with information and resources that can be given to each person who attends the event.

 Seek funding or sponsorship to provide meals for those who attend.

 Seek instructional providers or topic speakers.

 Work with each community on a location to hold the event.

 Create a media plan so there are many opportunities to notify residents of an upcoming event. Send individual invitations if necessary.  Work with organizations active in each community to get the word out and share information about events. Encourage organizations to publicize the event with their members.  Provide opportunities for communities and community residents to give feedback on events and input on the types of programs they are interested in.  For N2N-Buffalo, having written evaluations at events worked well. Provide pens and pencils if you are planning on written evaluations.

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