HOLLIDAYSBURG, Pa. (WTAJ) — The Healthy Blair County Coalition held a meeting Friday morning to discuss the findings of their 2021 community needs assessment survey, as well as speak with other group leaders about other initiatives.

The assessment showed that mental health was the number one household issue from the 3000 surveys that they had sent to random homes.

“Mental health concerns in our community have always been identified as an issue,” HBCC Director Coleen Heim said. “But you know as a result of the pandemic the stress of people losing their jobs or the stress of kids not being able to go to school.”

Specifically, several assessments and first hand experience from group leaders identified unique challenges that the county’s youth are dealing with, including social isolation, sedentary lifestyles and bullying. The assistant director at the South Central PA Center for Independent Living, Marty Dombrowski, says that kids need to know what help is out there for them.

“Knowing who in the community is offering what resource or what support,” Dombrowski said. “So that if a youth needs some extra support, they know who to ask and where the family or the individual can turn to get help.”

The coalition also collaborated with local businesses to fight obesity and promote active lifestyles by joining the Spark Fit City Challenge. The challenge records the numbers of active minutes that are recorded by a person or group and compares them against the 92 other cities across the country that participated. Blair County finished fifth, behind only Cleveland, Akron, Pittsburgh and Columbus.

Get daily updates on local news, weather and sports by signing up for the WTAJ Newsletter

Obesity was identified as the second leading issue in one household survey, behind overuse and addiction to social media and cell phones.