MONTVILLE, NJ – The Montville Stigma-Free Task Force presents the “Expressions of Hope” art show, to be held Oct. 13 at the Senior House from 2 to 6 p.m.

This free community event is designed to raise awareness, encourage hope, and reduce the stigma associated with mental health disorders and substance use disorders. It will feature the original work of local artists, live music, interactive exhibits and community resources. It will also feature a special showcase called “An Impression of Life” – a collection of works by artist Marisa Rincón, who lost her life to suicide in 2017.

The task force is also calling for artists to submit their works for consideration for the art show. More information is available here: Submit.

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The Montville Township Stigma-Free Communities Task Force was formed in 2017, and is part of a county-wide program which aims to eradicate the stigma associated with mental illness and substance use disorders, thus promoting wellness and recovery in our community. The goals of the Task Force are to:

  • Raise awareness of stigma associated with mental illness and substance use disorders.
  • Raise awareness of the importance of reducing stigma to encourage those afflicted to seek treatment.
  • Raise awareness of the many local mental health and recovery resources available so that no resident needs to feel hopeless or alone.
  • Encourage residents to break down barriers and be mindful of their mental health and ask for help when needed.

What is stigma?

Stigma is a mark of disgrace which results from judgment by others. When an individual is labeled by their disorder they experience judgment and prejudice. Stigma brings experiences and feelings of shame, embarrassment, distress, hopelessness and reluctance to seek or accept help.

Why is it important to reduce stigma?

The primary reason individuals fail to seek the help they need is due to the stigma associated with mental illness and substance use disorders. Main reasons cited are shame and fear of judgment from friends, family and co-workers. Such judgment is often rooted in a lack of knowledge or training.

It is our goal to disseminate information and foster a stigma-free environment where people are free from judgment and can get the help they need to recover from disease.

What can I do to help?

  • Don’t use disrespectful terms to describe people with mental illness or substance use disorders.
  • Don’t blame people with mental illness or substance use disorders for their afflictions.
  • Don’t be afraid of people with mental illness or substance use disorders.
  • Be a role model. Always treat people with mental illness and substance use disorders with respect, and encourage others around you to do the same.
  • Declare your home or business to be a Stigma-Free Zone. Display Stigma-Free decals and ribbons, and encourage others to participate.
  • Declare your public events to be Stigma-Free and distribute Stigma-Free pamphlets and promotional items at them. Your event will be promoted on our website, event calendar and social media sites.
  • Volunteer at one of the many Stigma-Free events here in Montville Township. A calendar of events can be found on our website.

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