Focus on mental health issues topic of Feb. 13 FrankTalks
The Feb. 13 Franklin Tomorrow FrankTalks focused on behavioral and mental health issues in Williamson County, with speakers honing in on the relationship between environment and well-being.
As reported by Carole Robinson of the Williamson Herald, while suicide ranks ninth in Tennessee for leading causes of death, in Williamson County, it is the second leading cause of death.
FrankTalks is a monthly lecture series presented by Vanderbilt University Office of Community, Neighborhood and Government Relations. It addresses topics and issues during its monthly sessions on the second Monday of the month at various locations across the city and county.
Guest speakers Feb. 13 included Taylor Cochran, director of marketing for Insight Counseling; Michael Acker, vice president of regional operations for the Blue Zone Project, a division of Healthways; Franklin Mayor Ken Moore; and Vona Wilson, chaplain of the YMCA of Middle Tennessee.
BlueZones, first identified by author and researcher Dan Buettner, are places “across the globe were people were living longer better simply by living in places that supported improved health and well being,” Acker said, adding their environment supported their well-being.
Those locations include Ikaria, Greece; Okinawa, Japan; the Ogliastra Region of Sardinia, Italy; Nicoya Peninsula, Costa Rica; and Loma Linda, Calif.
Research uncovered nine common denominators relating each of those locations, Acker said. The environments encourage natural movement such as walking or working in a garden. The people have a sense of purpose – a reason to get up in the morning. They’ve established a protocol for managing stress, which includes praying, napping or enjoying a happy hour.
Healthways, which is based in Franklin’s Cool Springs, now works with Buettner to establish new BlueZones across the United States. The company and Gallup formed a 25-year partnership that merged their respective areas of expertise in surveying, clinical research, and behavioral economics to create the Well-Being Index. The Index asks individuals about their well-being in 5 domains: purpose, social, financial, community, and physical.
“Since 2008, we have collected data for every MSA, congressional district, and state with surveying done seven days a week,” Acker said, adding the company uses landline and cellphone, in English and Spanish. To date, they have collected over 2 million survey responses.
He was able to provide research specific to Tennessee, Williamson County, even down to Franklin. The research showed high stress and depression rates, something which has given local officials pause and reason for concern.
For every Blue Zones Project community, Acker said Healthways conducts a well-being oversample before the project begins to get an accurate snapshot of the baseline state of well-being and conduct oversamples bi-annually afterwards to track changes in well-being over the span of the project. In addition to the Well-Being Index, Healthways also measures a number of other progress and outcome indicators at the organization and community level to track progress over time.
According to Moore, “We’re doing great [in Franklin] compared to the rest of Tennessee but not with the rest of the country.”
People in this county smoke less but drink more, have plenty of healthy food choices and the design of the city with walkways and trails being added is encouraging movement, he said, but added we still have young teenagers smoking, type 2 diabetes is on the rise, opiate use is nearing crisis mode, marijuana use is rising and suicide has risen.
“We can’t treat ourselves out of this, we’ve got to change ourselves out of it,” Moore said.
To read the full story in the Williamson Herald, click here.
To watch the meeting from a Facebook Live recording, click the image below.
Franklin recognized as one of three pilot Healthier Tennessee communities
The City of Franklin was recognized as one of three Healthier Tennessee pilot communities on Wednesday, June 1, 2016, through the work of Franklin Tomorrow’s Get Fit Franklin project, which encourages residents to take the first step to fitness by stepping out their front door for a walk or exercise.
In early 2015, Franklin Mayor Ken Moore asked Franklin Tomorrow to further its partnership with the City and use its existing Get Fit Franklin program – founded in 2011 — to represent the City with the Governor’s Foundation for a Healthier Tennessee in an effort to achieve pilot status.
“Community-led efforts like the ones we’re celebrating today are critical to improving the health and quality of life of Tennesseans,” said Gov. Bill Haslam, who made the presentation to Mayor Ken Moore with state Rep. Charles Sargent on hand for the announcement. “I congratulate these communities on their efforts to encourage and enable healthy living, and I hope all Tennessee communities will strive to do the same.”
To be designated, the communities – Tullahoma, Hickman County, and Franklin – established wellness councils and developed sustainable community-wide events and activities that support physical activity, healthy eating and tobacco abstinence.
The existing Get Fit Franklin committee evolved into a Wellness Council, which meets regularly and in partnership with other governmental, health, and interested organizations and individuals. Financial support was provided by Vanderbilt Health, BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee, and Williamson Medical Center for a variety of activities related to healthy eating, reducing tobacco use, and increased physical activity.
Activities have included the Mayors’ Healthy Cookoff in June 2015, a weekly walk for one hour at the Park at Harlinsdale Farm, and increased attention at Franklin Tomorrow’s Breakfast With the Mayors on topics related to health.
The foundation launched the Healthier Tennessee Communities initiative in March 2015 with nine pilot communities, including Franklin and Tullahoma. Four communities in West Tennessee and three in East Tennessee have also earned the designation.
The Governor’s Foundation for a Health and Wellness is a non-profit corporation dedicated to enabling and encouraging Tennesseans to lead healthier lives. It brings together a statewide coalition of employers, health insurers, hospital systems, local governments, school systems and healthcare-focused foundations and community organizations to effect positive, measurable change. The Healthier Tennessee initiative strives to increase the number of Tennesseans who are physically active for at least 30 minutes five times a week, promote a healthy diet, and reduce the number of people who use tobacco.
Franklin Tomorrow’s Get Fit Franklin program was launched in 2012 thanks to the support of founding partner BlueCross Blue Shield and other partners, including the City of Franklin. The program is designed to encourage residents to take the first steps to a healthier, more active community by stepping out their front door. Get Fit Franklin also provides access to group fitness opportunities through the Park Fit series in cooperation with the City of Franklin, the Franklin YMCA, and Anytime Fitness, as well as access to pre-measured and marked walking routes. It is our hope that through these efforts we will encourage citizens to increase their level of physical activity.
To access our full calendar of activities, visit the Get Fit Franklin Meetup site.
Quarterly events, presented by Vanderbilt Health and Blue Cross Blue Shield of Tennessee are also held across the city.
Like us on Facebook to keep current on what’s happening with Get Fit Franklin.
And to access pre-measured routes to walk around Franklin, visit Get Fit Franklin’s Website.