Get the latest COVID-19 Updates | Morris County Regional Vaccination Center Information

Posted Wednesday, December 21st, 2016


stigma_free_sign_fp_addressAll Morris County residents are invited to join a Stigma Free open conversation, focusing on eliminating the stigma associated with mental illness and substance abuse, to be held on Tuesday, Jan. 10, in Rockaway Borough.

The goals of this Stigma-Free gathering are to raise awareness about the issues, share resources, seek alliances and form committed partnerships, and to offer some potential solutions.

While this gathering will focus on Rockaway Borough and the surrounding area, all county residents, from Riverdale and to Jefferson to Long Hill, are invited.

“Through committed partnerships, we can make a huge difference in how we deal with issues of mental illness and substance use, and to help foster efforts of recovery for so many people from across our entire county who might be reluctant to admit their problems and seek help,’’ said organizer Vicky Mulligan.

The “conversation’’ will be held on Jan. 10, at 12 noon, at CARES, which is located at 25 West Main Street, Rockaway Borough, N.J. 07866.  Please RSVP to Tracy Casiano at 1-862-881-6617 or [email protected].Stigma 2

The Center for Addiction Recovery Education & Success, or CARES, is a peer-to-peer, volunteer based recovery oriented sanctuary. CARES actively engages and organizes the recovery community, helping individuals find, maintain and enhance their recovery experience through peer support, educational and volunteer opportunities and sober recreation.

The Morris County Stigma Free Communities Initiative is a countywide program which aims to eradicate the stigma associated with mental illness and substance use disorders. The effort is dedicated to raising awareness of these illnesses by creating an environment where affected individuals are supported in their efforts to achieve wellness and recovery.

The Morris County 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.

Hank Lyon

Freeholder Hank Lyon

“Stigma-Free Communities aim to inspire public interest and open dialogue about stigma, raise awareness of mental health and substance use disorders and create a culture in which residents with mental health and substance use disorders feel supported by their community and neighbors,’’ said Morris County Deputy Freeholder Director Hank Lyon.

So far, eight Morris County towns have officially joined the movement. Included are Morris Plains, which passed a Stigma Free resolution on Dec. 2, to join Boonton, Denville, East Hanover, Hanover, Jefferson, Madison and Rockaway Township as Stigma Free communities.

The Morris County Department of Human Services has created a Stigma Free website ( 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:

For more information on the disease of mental illness, visit and for more information on NAMI’s national Stigma Free effort, visit:

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.