HILLSBOROUGH, NJ - The Township Committee and the Hillsborough Board of Education have each adopted a resolution designating Hillsborough Township a Stigma-Free Community.

The Stigma-Free initiative helps raise awareness surrounding mental health and strives to create an environment where individuals feel free to seek support to enhance their mental health, without fear of being stigmatized.

According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, 1 in 5 people in any given year are living with a diagnosable mental health condition; the National Institute on Drug Abuse estimates 23 million Americans have a substance use disorder with only 25% receiving treatment.

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Despite the statistics, there remains a high rate of shame associated with mental health treatment, education, substance use, overdose and suicide, according to NAMI.

There are resources available to help during this difficult time of both COVID and the holiday season, a time when many people struggle with feelings of loneliness, despair and hopelessness.

The Somerset County Hope and Healing program has gone live. This program is at no cost, confidential and anonymous, for Somerset County residents and individuals who work in Somerset County that may be in need of emotional support and/or resources.

“As I stated when we adopted the Stigma Free Resolution, Hillsborough is fortunate to have a very active Municipal Alliance working on substance abuse prevention and BoroSafe working on suicide prevention. In addition, this is an opportunity to gather many of the initiatives that we currently are working on come under a unified umbrella,” said Mayor Doug Tomson.

“For many years we have remained steadfast in our focus on students’ long-term development by promoting social and emotional learning including recognizing and managing emotions, building relationships, problem solving and effective decision making,” added Superintendent of Schools Dr. Lisa Antunes. “It is important for the district to continue to work with the Township and the community on this important initiative of Stigma Free in Hillsborough and we look forward to doing so.”