Posted Wednesday, March 1st, 2017


The Boonton Township Committee last night voted to become the 12th Morris County “Stigma Free’’ municipality, joining the countywide effort to help eradicate the stigma associated with mental illness and substance abuse disorders.

Boonton Township Joins the Morris County Stigma Free Movement

Boonton Township joins the town of Boonton, Denville, East Hanover, Hanover, Jefferson, Madison, Morris Plains, Morris Township, Parsippany, Rockaway Borough and Rockaway Township as 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.

The governing body seeks, when possible, to improve the quality of life for our residents,’’ said Boonton Township Mayor Tom Donadio. “Designating Boonton Township as a Stigma-Free Community will raise awareness of our available local mental health and recovery resources, which is a terrific benefit for our residents.

“Passing this resolution is the first step towards ending discrimination of mental health issues and drug addiction,’’ the mayor added.Morris County Stigma Free logo

Morris County has created a Stigma Free website 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 is available for towns and communities.

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.’’

Boonton Township Joins the Morris County Stigma Free Movement

Freeholder Director Doug Cabana

“We know there is no Big Government solution to these problems; that it requires a grass roots movement in our towns and schools and businesses to make this work,’’ said Freeholder Kathy DeFillippo. “We thank Boonton Township for joining this countywide effort and urge all 39 towns in our county to take a stand against stigma.’’

Boonton Township Joins the Morris County Stigma Free MovementAs part of the initiative, residents are urged to take the Stigma Free Pledge:

  • As a supporter to those who have a mental illness or substance use disorder, I understand the importance of recognizing the high prevalence of mental illness and substance use disorders.
  • I also know that when recognition is coupled with reeducation and understanding, health-seeking action can be taken. These actions lead to recovery, which is possible for everyone.
  • The Three R’s (recognize, reeducate and reduce) depend on each other to effectively Stamp Out Stigma surrounding mental illness and substance use disorders.
  • This is what I, as an individual, charge myself to do—to fully Stamp Out Stigma and clear the path to health-seeking behavior. It begins with me.

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.