Programs Planned to Mark Mental Health Awareness

This was originally published May 6, 2021 in the Westfield Leader

WESTFIELD – The Town of Westfield will recognize Mental Health Awareness Month throughout May by launching The CAKE Crumb Trail — a free, month-long, outdoor event for
participants of all ages organized by the Westfield Mental Health Council.

The CAKE Crumb Trail invites residents and visitors to participate in a
self-guided tour of the downtown area with stops designed to highlight Westfield’s commitment to being a stigma-free and inclusive community.

The CAKE initiative, which emphasizes the importance of compassion, acceptance, kindness, and empathy, is part of the Mental Health Council’s ongoing focus on mental
wellness and behavioral health. Established in 2018 under Mayor Shelley Brindle, the Mental Health Council’s goal is to bring members of the community together with mental health stakeholders to create awareness of mental health resources and establish additional programs and support for Westfield families and youth.

“Mental Health Awareness Month provides us with an important opportunity to check in on one another and make ourselves aware of the valuable resources available in the community,” said Mayor Brindle. “After a year like no other, it is very likely that many
people in our community have been affected, directly or indirectly, by mental illness. It is time to break the stigma that exists around mental health and make Westfield a model in providing comprehensive youth and family mental health support.”

The CAKE Crumb Trail encourages participants to get outdoors this spring and engage in a safe, socially distant, educational activity that focuses on mental and emotional wellness while promising some fun along the way. A free guide map directs participants to ten locations that embody Westfield’s spirit of compassion, acceptance, kindness and empathy — including the rainbow crosswalks, sensory garden at Mindowaskin Park, and the justice gardens at First United Methodist Church.

Additionally, participants who spot shops displaying CAKE decals in their windows can stop inside for free coloring pages designed by local illustrator Giao Williams.

Westfield High School students have helped with planning and will also be pitching in as CAKE Ambassadors, passing out pre-packaged “swag” to lucky participants on the weekends.

Guide maps are available on the council’s website (, and can be picked up at the Westfield Fire and Police stations on North Avenue and E. Broad Street, respectively. The Town’s Instagram account (@TownofWestfield) will also highlight Mental Health Awareness Month content throughout May.

In addition, the Mental Health Council will present a webinar entitled “Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction” on Wednesday, May 19 at 7 p.m. with Dr. Jim Handlin, a founding member and educational consultant to the Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction Center of New Jersey. This free session will focus on techniques to reduce stress in order to enhance overall mental health and wellbeing. Details can be found at

The Mental Health Council would like to remind residents that mental and emotional health services and resources are available for free to any New Jersey citizen and can be accessed via text message (text “NJHOPE” to 51684) or phone (866-202-HELP; videophone (973) 870-0677 for the hearing impaired). Any questions or suggestions for the Mental Health Council may be sent to [email protected].