WAKEFIELD — With the holidays coming up, the cold air setting in, and the sun setting early, this time of year can be difficult for many people. Wakefield’s Health and Human Services Department wants to be sure you know that local resources are available to fit your unique situation, whether you prefer browsing online, speaking with an expert over the phone, or want to see someone in person.

Mental health and wellness

Wakefield residents of all ages can use the free, confidential INTERFACE referral service to get matched with licensed mental health and wellness providers. Each referral is tailored to the location, insurance, and specialty needs of the individual. You can call 1-888-244-6843 Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. or start the process online. If you are in a crisis, call or text the 24-hour Massachusetts Behavioral Health Help Line at 833-773-2445, visit www.masshelpline.com, or call the National Suicide and Crisis Lifeline at 988.

Recovery and support

The Town of Wakefield, in partnership with Eliot Community Human Services, has a recovery coach supporting those in need of assistance with substance-use related issues. Tracy Ascolillo Rizzo helps individuals navigate the care system, builds relationships throughout their transition, and helps support behavior changes in their journeys toward recovery. Tracy introduces treatment options that best address her clients’ needs and provides guidance and support through all phases of the recovery process. Tracy can be reached by email at tascolillo@eliotchs.org or by phone at 781-879-2117.  If you or a loved one is interested in attending self-help meetings or support groups, view our local schedule guide.

Children and family resources

Wakefield Public Schools has a Student Support Services Team with expertise in the unique needs of our young residents. In addition to the challenges students face in the classroom, the team can also assist with concerns outside of the school environment. They are able to suggest resources for students facing feelings of anxiety and depression, exhibiting signs of self harm or eating disorders, or working through a divorce or family trauma. Learn more about the team and find contact information.

Wakefield Public Schools Mental Health Coordinators will host a virtual “Chat with a Counselor” session on Tuesday, December 5, from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m.  They will review how students and families can access mental health support and answer questions from meeting participants. Access the meeting at www.zoom.us/my/chatwithacounselor.

Food insecurity

According to a recent Greater Boston Food Bank study, one in three adults living in Massachusetts experiences food insecurity. Wakefield’s Food Pantry has seen increasing needs in our community over the last few years and, in 2022, served approximately 575 households here in Wakefield.

The Pantry, located in the Americal Civic Center, is open to residents on Tuesdays from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. and Thursdays from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. and again from 6:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. In addition to the main facility at 467 Main Street, the Pantry operates specialized programs for seniors, Veterans, and children. Learn more about their programs  or call 781-245-2510.

Several Wakefield-based organizations host free community dinners each month so residents can enjoy a hot meal and conversation.  Refer to page two of our resource guide for locations, times, and contact information (in English or español).

Domestic violence

Mollie Bracken, Domestic Violence Counselor, provides counseling and support to survivors of domestic and dating violence. She can guide Wakefield residents on legal rights, connect survivors to emergency shelter and financial support, and help families navigate resources. Mollie can be reached at mollie@respondinc.org or 617-625-5996.

Get in touch

If the websites, guides, and contact lists overwhelm you, feel free to get in touch for personal guidance.  Jason Stone, Wakefield’s Social Services Manager, can help connect you to the programs you need, including fuel assistance, SNAP and MassHealth, mental health and wellness resources, and more. Jason has office hours at the Health and Human Services office at 5 Common Street and at the Civic Center at 467 Main Street. Connect with him at 781-670-4935 or jstone@wakefield.ma.us to set up an appointment.