CHATHAM, NJ - Just eight New Jersey communities earned "Healthy Town" status and one of them is the Chathams, which made a successful joint effort through the Mayors Wellness Campaign sponsored by the Quality Institute.

The Mayors Wellness Campaign Committee cited mental health stigma as a top concern to Chatham residents. Toward that end, the Chathams offered  STAY – An adult education program on suicide prevention provided through the library that provides parents and caregivers with information on how to help loved ones cope with crisis situations.

"Chatham Township and the Borough of Chatham share so many services for the residents of our communities including the Mayors Wellness Advisory Committee of the Chathams to raise the awareness of the importance of healthy lifestyles," Chatham Township Mayor Tayfun Selen said. "Like our joint annual Substantiality Fair, held by both environmental commissions and MWC to explore health, wellness, and sustainability as well as eco-friendly products and organizations with affordable environmental solutions to sustain our communities."

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Chatham Township also sponsors the Out of the Darkness walk, which brings awareness to suicide prevention.

“This recognition is well deserved for the Chathams as we work to increase awareness of suicide prevention and remove the stigma of mental illness," Curt Ritter, former Chatham Township Mayor, said. "I encourage all residents to get involved in the many activities offered in our towns that promote both physical and mental health wellbeing.

"A reminder, the fourth annual "Out of the Darkness Walk" to support the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention will take place on Saturday, Sept. 21 at 4:30 p.m at Cougar Field. Over the past three years, we have raised nearly $250,000 for the AFSP. Thanks again for the support."

Also, Chatham's Project Community Pride provides one-on-one free counseling for adolescents and their families in emotional crisis due to family dysfunction, behavior issues at school or in the community.

“Achieving the Healthy Town designation is a tremendous achievement for Chatham Borough,” Chatham Borough Mayor Bruce Harris said. “It reflects our commitment to being a sustainable community and our recognition that healthy lifestyles on the part of the residents are a key component of a community. 

"Congratulations to our Mayors' Wellness team, led by Chairman Brian George MS, MBA, FACHE, and Council Member Victoria Fife supported by Janice Piccolo Director of Community Services, which has done so much to promote healthy living and worked very hard to complete our application.”

Aside from raising awareness and support around mental health, the Chatham MWC led a Mobility in Nature program that provided a community walkability study of a 3.3 mile loop through downtown shopping areas.

“The commitment to improving health and wellness, by these Mayors and volunteers, is impressive,” said Linda Schwimmer, President and CEO of the Quality Institute. “It was inspiring to read their applications this year and we are excited to share some examples of their great work.”