Thursday, December 15th, 2016
URGES ALL TOWNSHIP RESIDENTS TO HELP END THE STIGMA THAT FOLLOWS THOSE WHO SUFFER MENTAL ILLNESS AND SUBSTANCE ABUSE DISORDERS
The Morris Plains Borough Committee has voted to become the eight Morris County “Stigma Free’’ municipality, joining the countywide effort to help eradicate the stigma associated with mental illness and substance abuse disorders.
Morris Plains, which passed a Stigma Free resolution on Dec. 2, joins Boonton, Denville, East Hanover, Hanover, Jefferson, Madison and Rockaway Township as Stigma Free communities in Morris County.
The Board of Freeholders this spring passed a resolution designating Morris County as a Stigma-Free County and asked the county’s 39 towns to enroll.
“It is important to understand the difficulties for individuals and families of dealing with mental illness and substance abuse, how these illnesses can destroy lives and families,’’ said Morris Plains Mayor Frank Druetzler. “The Stigma Free initiative is an important countywide step to help move people towards recovery, without fear of stigma or reprisal.’’
“We thank Morris Plains for joining this countywide effort and urge all of the 39 towns in our county to do so as well,’’ said Freeholder Director Kathy DeFillippo.
(Read the Morris Plains Stigma Free resolution at bottom of this release)
The Morris County Department of Human Services has created a Stigma Free website (http://hs.morriscountynj.gov/stigma-free/) to call attention to the initiative and to help direct people suffering from those illnesses and additions to available help and services. A Stigma Free Toolkit also has been created. Check it out at: http://hs.morriscountynj.gov/wp-content/uploads/2016/09/Stigma-free-toolkit.pdf
Morris County’s goal in creating a Stigma Free initiative is to disseminate information and foster a stigma-free environment where people are free from judgment and can get the help they need to recover.
As part of the initiative, residents are urged to take the Stigma Free Pledge:
Stigma is defined as a mark of disgrace which results from the judgment by others. When an individual is labeled by their illness they experience judgment and prejudice. Stigma brings experiences and feelings of shame, embarrassment, distress, hopelessness and reluctance to seek or accept help.
RESOLUTION DESIGNATING THE BOROUGH OF MORRIS PLAINS A STIGMA-FREE COMMUNITY:
WHEREAS, the Morris County Board of Chosen Freeholders, along with the Morris County Department of Human Service, supports the designation of Stigma-Free Communities in every municipality, and;
WHEREAS, at their April 27, 2016 meeting the Morris County Board of Chosen Freeholders unanimously passed a resolution supporting the designation of Morris County as a Stigma-Free Community
WHEREAS, Morris County recognizes that one in four Americans has experienced mental illness, including substance use disorders, in a given year according to the National Institute of Mental Health, and;
WHEREAS, mental health problems are more common than cancer and heart disease combined, affecting children and adults, including more than half of our Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans treated at Veteran’s Administration hospitals, and;
WHEREAS, given the serious nature of this public health problem, we must continue to reach the millions who need help;
WHEREAS, the stigma associated with the disease of mental illness is identified as the primary reason individuals fail to seek the help they need to recover from the disease, and;
WHEREAS, Stigma-Free Communities aim to inspire public interest and open dialogues about stigma, raise awareness of the disease of mental illness and create a culture wherein residents who have the disease of mental illness feel supported by their community and neighbors and feel free to seek treatment for the disease without fear of stigma and;
WHEREAS, promoting awareness that there can be no “health” without mental health will break down barriers and encourage residents of all ages to be mindful of their mental health and ask for help when needed, and;
WHEREAS, local resources are available to treat the disease of mental illness so no one resident needs to suffer alone or feel hopeless, and;
WHEREAS, establishing Stigma-Free Communities will raise awareness of resources and encourage residents to engage in care as soon as the need is identified so recovery can begin, hope is inspired and tragedies are avoided, and;
NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the Borough of Morris Plains recognizes the community needs and supports the efforts of the County of Morris in designating the Borough of Morris Plains as a Stigma-Free Community.