Montville Township Committee Committed to Making Montville Stigma Free

Wendy Sefcik, Rev. Tom Henion of the Mtv Ref Church, John Michaud of New Pathways, Twp Health Officer Aimee Puluso, Depty Mayr F Cooney, Twp Com Mbrs R Cook, D Nielson, R Conklin, Mayor Jim Sandham Credits: Melissa Benno
Health Officer Aimee Puluso with the Stigma Free Proclamation and the HOPE ONE van Credits: Courtesy of Wendy Sefcik
HOPE One Van staff, Montville Health Officer Aimee Puluso, Rev. Tom Henion, John Michaud of New Pathways Credits: Courtesy of Wendy Sefcik

MONTVILLE, NJ – The Montville Township Committee made a proclamation designating the township as a Stigma Free community at its Nov. 13 meeting, solidifying the April 2017 resolution the town passed.

“Even though assistance is available, less than half the children and adults with diagnosable mental health problems seek and receive treatment, due to lack of knowledge, and fear of stigma and rejection,” the proclamation states in part.

“As a community, it is our responsibility to recognize the signs and symptoms of mental health problems and lend a hand to those who are struggling with them, since the stigma of having a mental illness often discourages those afflicted to seek help.

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“Promoting awareness that there can be no health without mental health will break down barriers and encourage residents of all ages to be mindful of their mental health and ask for help when needed,” according to the proclamation.

Montville’s Stigma Free Task Force, spearheaded by Health Officer Aimee Puluso, meets about once a month, with the goal of eradicating the stigma associated with mental illness and substance abuse disorders, member Wendy Sefcik told TAPinto Montville. Twenty-six of Morris county’s 39 towns have joined the Morris County “Stigma Free’’ initiative so far, she said.

“At this point the Montville Stigma Free Task Force is making an effort to have a presence at community events like TowacoFest, the 4th of July festivities and the recent community event hosted by Drug Awareness Council, ‘Chasing the Dragon,’ to get people talking about mental health and substance use disorders and how to find resources,” she said.

The task force includes members of the police and worship communities, parents, students, and township administration, who “represent different parts of the community and are all vested in raising awareness of the importance of mental health and reducing stigma,” Sefcik said.

Puluso and Sefcik are also part of the Morris County Stigma Free Communities Initiative.

“The Morris County HOPE One van was brought to the township committee meeting as a show of support for Montville Township proclaiming our community stigma free,” Sefcik said. “HOPE One travels twice a week to locations throughout Morris County, providing clients immediate access to services and treatment facilities, putting them on the road to recovery and wellness.”

Sefcik also referred residents to the National Alliance on Mental Illness website for help recognizing the signs of a mental illness condition, including changes in eating or sleeping habits, avoiding friends, or worrying excessively. Please click here for the NAMI website: NAMI and click here for further information from Montville Township about what it means to be a Stigma Free Township and what you can do to help: SF.

Other Township News

Township Zoning Officer and Planner Ryan Conklin left his position at the beginning of January 2017 and the township contracted with Joseph Burgis, a long-time consultant to the township, to perform Conklin’s duties per Burgis’ proposal in January. At the meeting, the township committee re-signed the no-bid contract with Burgis not to exceed $37,000.

The reorganization meeting, when Township Committee Members-elect Matthew Kayne and June Witty will be sworn in, has been set for Jan. 1, 2018 at 4 p.m.

The Nov. 28 meeting will begin one hour earlier, to discuss budget items only, at 6 p.m. The committee will then go into closed session, and then the regular township committee meeting will begin as usual at 8 p.m.

The township is considering making Peace Valley Road a dead end and has spoken to the residents there.

Two members of the Long-Term Financial Planning Committee have resigned.

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