FREEHOLD, NJ — Monmouth County has debuted 'Stigma-Free Monmouth,' a new website to help spread the message there is assistance for those who suffer from behavioral health illnesses and substance use disorders.

During the first seven months of 2020, the number of overdose deaths rose dramatically both in New Jersey and Monmouth County, compared to totals for the entire year of 2019, according to county officials.

“In 2019, New Jersey suffered from 3,021 overdose deaths with 187 occurring in Monmouth County. Since January 1 to July 31 of this year, New Jersey has had 1,834 overdose deaths and 111 in Monmouth County,” said Freeholder Deputy Director Susan M. Kiley, liaison to the Division of Behavioral Health. “This movement has been gaining momentum, and the launch of the stigma-free website helps advocate awareness and education about this notable health concern.”

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Launched by the Board of Freeholders in collaboration with the Division of Behavioral Health, the website is an initiative of the Monmouth County Stigma-Free Action Committee, which believes that every individual deserves to be treated with respect and that everyone should be able to get help without fear, according to a press release.

The stigma-free initiative’s goal is to reduce the stigmas associated with mental illnesses and substance use disorders. Monmouth County and other stigma-free zones are raising awareness of the diseases and disorders to help create support for individuals who need to pursue treatment, the release continued.

“According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, one in five Americans will be affected by mental health conditions,” said Kiley. “A negative stigma toward those with this illness or substance use is toxic to the individual’s mental health. Stigmas are 100 percent curable. Monmouth County residents need to be kind and have empathy toward those with behavioral health illnesses and encourage them to seek treatment.”

Click here to visit the Stigma-Free Monmouth website. Click here to watch for Kiley's announcement of the website. 

NJ Human Services Dedicates COVID-19 Funds to Support Mental Health and Substance Abuse Providers

Meanwhile, the N.J. Department of Human Services announced on September 8 that it will use federal Coronavirus Relief Fund resources to provide up to $25 million to help mental health and substance use disorder providers remain open and accessible by reimbursing for the added costs they are incurring due to COVID-19.

Eligible entities include the more than 250 providers who participate in Human Services’ Division of Mental Health and Addiction Services network that provide prevention, treatment and recovery supports to the uninsured and underinsured.

The state offers two hotlines to help those in need of mental health and substance abuse services.

  • NJ Mental Health Cares help line (866-202-HELP) — and a videophone mental health helpline for American Sign Language users (973-870-0677) — to give all New Jerseyans a safe place to talk to someone about the anxiety and fear experienced during this challenging time.
  • 844-ReachNJ hotline to assist residents in accessing addiction treatment, including new messaging about the importance of asking about medication to support recovery.

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