MORRISTOWN, NJ - The Town of Morristown has been declared Stigma-Free, according to the resolution passed by the Town Council. Morristown has now become the 21st town to join the Morris County "Stigma Free" initiative that helps to eradicate the stigma associated with mental illness and substance abuse disorders.
Morristown joins Butler, Chatham Borough, Mendham Borough, Mountain Lakes, Roxbury, and Washington Township, Boonton, Boonton Township, Denville, Dover, East Hanover, Hanover, Jefferson, Long Hill, Madison, Morris Plains, Morris Township, Parsippany, Rockaway Borough and Rockaway Township as stigma free communities.
“By becoming a Stigma-Free community, the Town of Morristown will continue to move forward in effort to raise awareness of local resources that can be provided to those with mental health issues and substance abuse,” stated Morristown Mayor Timothy Dougherty. “I hope that this designation will help those who are affected seek the assistance they need without fear of judgment.”
"We are really heartened by the support shown for this Stigma-Free initiative by towns like Butler and Morristown, and by so many health providers and nonprofit agencies, and our county residents,’’ said Morris County Freeholder Director Doug Cabana. “This initiative is an important step in helping affected people seek recovery, without fear of stigma or reprisal.’’
Morris County has created a Stigma Free website www.morriscountystigmafree.org to call attention to the initiative, provide information and resources, and a calendar of upcoming events related to mental illness and substance abuse.
As part of the countywide initiative, residents are urged to take the Stigma Free Pledge:
- As a supporter to those who have a mental illness or substance use disorder, I understand the importance of recognizing the high prevalence of mental illness and substance use disorders.
- I also know that when recognition is coupled with reeducation and understanding, health-seeking action can be taken. These actions lead to recovery, which is possible for everyone.
- The Three R’s (recognize, reeducate and reduce) depend on each other to effectively Stamp Out Stigma surrounding mental illness and substance use disorders.
- This is what I, as an individual, charge myself to do—to fully Stamp Out Stigma and clear the path to health-seeking behavior. It begins with me.
Stigma is defined as a mark of disgrace which results from the judgment by others. When an individual is labeled by their illness they experience judgment and prejudice. Stigma brings experiences and feelings of shame, embarrassment, distress, hopelessness and reluctance to seek or accept help.