Health & Wellness

Chatham Township is 26th Morris County Community to Become "Stigma Free"

Chatham Township Deputy Mayor Karen Swartz acknowledges the importance of having a "Stigma-free" community when it comes to substance abuse and mental illness Credits: TAP Chatham

CHATHAM, NJ - Chatham Township became the 26th Morris County community to pass a resolution declaring the town to be  "Stigma-Free" at its last regular meeting of the Chatham Township Committee.

The initiative aims to remove the stigma associated with mental illness and substance abuse disorders.

"We are proud to join with other Morris County towns in declaring ourselves a stigma-free community," Karen Swartz, Chatham Township Deputy Mayor, said. "There is no substitute for communication, understanding, and education when it comes to coping with mental illness and substance abuse.

Sign Up for E-News

"But more than anything, it is not just talking the talk but walking the walk. As important as it is to have resources of the township behind a resolution such as this, each one of us has the responsibility to lend a hand to support one another, and our many initiatives, including Mayor (Curt) Ritter's suicide awareness program."

This grassroots initiative recognizes the high prevalence of mental illness and substance use disorders in our communities and promotes re-education and understanding that can help lead to treatment and recovery – minus the stigma associated with these illnesses.

“Stigma-Free communities aim to inspire public interest and open dialogues about stigma, raise awareness of the disease of mental illness and create a culture wherein residents feel supported by their communities and neighbors and feel free to seek treatment for their disease with fear of stigma,’’ states the Chatham Township resolution.

Chatham Township joins other Stigma Free communities in Morris County: Boonton, Boonton Township, Butler, Chatham Borough, Denville, Dover, East Hanover, Hanover, Jefferson, Long Hill, Madison, Mendham Borough, Mine Hill, Montville, Morris Plains, Morristown, Morris Township, Mountain Lakes, Parsippany, Pequannock, Randolph, Rockaway Borough, Rockaway Township Roxbury, and Washington Township, plus the Montville Township School District.

“This initiative is an important step in helping affected people seek recovery, without fear of stigma or reprisal,’’ Morris County Freeholder Director Doug Cabana said. “But it is only support shown for this Stigma-Free initiative by towns like Chatham Township, and their officials and residents, that can make this grassroots effort succeed.’’

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.

For information on the disease of mental illness, visit and for 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 individuals are labeled by their illnesses, they experience judgment and prejudice. Stigma brings experiences and feelings of shame, embarrassment, distress, hopelessness, and reluctance to seek or accept help.

TAP Into Another Town's News:

You May Also Be Interested In

Sign Up for E-News


Upcoming Events


Fri, December 15, 6:00 PM

Madison Area YMCA - Craft Room, Madison

Cocoa and Canvas

Arts & Entertainment Giving Back Other


Sun, December 17, 3:00 PM

New Providence High School, New Providence

NJ Intergenerational Orchestra's Annual Family ...

Arts & Entertainment


Fri, December 22, 2:00 PM

Madison Area YMCA - Kroll Conference Room, Madison

Blood Drive

Giving Back Health & Wellness Other

A Week at the Library of The Chathams Monday, December 4 – Sunday, December 10, 2017


By Galina Natenzon

Our popular Trip Around the World series for children takes them, appropriately, on holiday-themed trips to Germany and the Netherlands.  For teenagers, no holiday is complete without food – check out the cupcake event!  The entire family can go to the movies on Thursday to watch Despicable Me 3.

For information about all programs or ...

Investors Bank October 2017 Fed Normalization Process

The Federal Reserve has increased interest rates twice this year and could do so again in December.  But the economy is hardly booming along and inflation remains tame.  Are the central bankers crazy?  No!  They simply are trying to add some monetary policy arrows to their largely empty quiver.

The near collapse of the world financial system in 2008, forced the Fed to take ...

Please Donate Blood....You May Just Help Save A Life

November 30, 2017

Dear Friends and Neighbors,

On Saturday, December 2nd and Sunday, December 10th there will be blood drives held right here in Chatham. On December 2nd the Chatham Emergency Squad will be sponsoring a blood drive between 8:30 a.m. and 2:30 p.m. and on December 10th the DiMaggio family will be sponsoring a blood drive at the Chatham Fish and Game Club ...

Family Health

When a Stroke is Possible, Experience Makes the Difference

When it comes to accurately diagnosing whether someone has suffered a stroke, “one can never be too smart,” says Dr. Gary Belt.

Belt, a stroke neurologist at Atlantic Neuroscience Institute in Overlook Medical Center, has more than three decades of experience in making those tricky diagnoses. He knows that superficial signs that seem to indicate a stroke can’t always be ...

AtlantiCast: Episode 008

On this week’s AtlantiCast, you’ll learn about a groundbreaking new clinical trial in the fight against pancreatic cancer, meet an award-winning child neurologist at Goryeb Children’s Hospital and hear about the new Scoliosis and Spinal Deformity Center at Atlantic Orthopedic Institute – plus stay tuned at the end to see our debut episode of the AtlantiCast Medical ...

Chatham/ECLC Play Unified Soccer Hosts Union City

December 13, 2017











ECLC/Chatham Play Unified Soccer team: Allison O’Brien, Matthew Chase, Iona  Kallicuk, Amelia Lechtner, Jessica Vespasiano, Griffin Eckert, Ava Riso, JaySean Pratt, Alexia Riso, Andrew Petruska, Anna Paskalides, Alec Gavenda, Brian Curci, Elizabeth Whipp, James Droggitis,Filippo ...