Wellbeing Survey Seeking Respondents In Vernal
In an effort to better understand how individuals and communities in the state are doing, the Utah Wellbeing Project was developed by USU Extension.
“Quality of life and wellbeing have always been really important to leaders and decision-makers in Utah. But we often use existing data that we have either from the census or other indicators and don't have as many mechanisms to just reach out and ask folks about how they're doing. And so this is a way to do that,” said Dr. Courtney Flint, who works USU Extension and developed the Utah Wellbeing Project
Cities across the state can choose to participate in the project and ask citizens about how they’re doing through a short survey. Efforts began in 2019 with 16 cities and grew to 30 cities this year. Because of the pandemic, the survey looks a little different this year.
Challenges related to COVID-19 are consistently brought up in the surveys and researchers are seeing dramatic declines in a sense of social connection and a lack of cultural opportunities, as well as a strong concern for mental health declines.
“Mental health is an issue across our communities from very rural to very urban settings,” Flint said. “It’s really on people’s minds.”
Pinpointing the issues of greatest concern for residents allows municipal leaders to target resources in more meaningful ways. In Herriman, researchers learned most residents care about natural and open spaces. In Nephi, city officials used survey findings to inform city budget planning.
Vernal is participating this year as is the first city in Uintah County to do so. The city planners are ready to hear from their residents, and the survey will be open until March 14. While researchers are excited by the responses they have received, they want more participation to help ensure they are sampling from a representative group.
The survey is completely anonymous, only takes 10 minutes to fill out and can be accessed on the Utah Wellbeing Survey website.