Posted Monday, January 30th, 2017
St. Clare’s Behavioral Health Center in Boonton will host a free National Alliance on Mental Illness recovery program starting Feb. 19, as part an effort to help residents overcome their illness and the stigma associated with it.
NAMI’s new support group on mental illness for Morris County is part of an overall Morris County Stigma-Free movement that is dedicated to eradicating the stigma associated with mental illness and substance abuse disorders, and to encourage county residents to seek programs and services that foster recovery.
Ten Morris County towns, including Boonton, Denville, East Hanover, Hanover, Jefferson, Madison, Morris Plains, Morris Township, Rockaway Borough and Rockaway Township have signed on as participating Stigma Free communities in Morris County. The Board of Freeholders in 2016 passed a resolution designating Morris County as a Stigma-Free County and asked the county’s 39 towns to consider enrolling.
Morris County has created a Stigma Free website www.morriscountystigmafree.org to call attention to the initiative, provide information and resources, and a calendar of upcoming events related to mental illness and substance abuse. A Stigma Free Toolkit also has been created.
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.
“This is an important effort to help all of us understand the problems facing individual residents and families in our county who have to deal with mental illness and substance abuse, and how these illnesses can destroy their lives,’’ said Morris County Freeholder Director Doug Cabana. “This Stigma Free initiative is an important step in helping affected people seek recovery, without fear of stigma or reprisal.’’
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.