Mount Arlington Joins Mental Health and Addiction Initiative

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The Mount Arlington Borough Council has passed a resolution declaring the borough Stigma-Free, making the total 33 of Morris County’s 39 towns, along with hospitals, schools, nonprofit agencies, and law enforcement groups that have joined the countywide “Stigma Free’’ initiative.

Stigma-Free Morris County: Mount Arlington Joins Mental Health and Addiction Initiative

The overriding goal is to help eradicate the stigma associated with mental illness and with substance abuse disorders. The goal is to get people who need help into treatment programs.

“We want everyone to know help is available and no one should suffer alone,’’ said Mount Arlington Mayor Michael Stanzilis. “Establishing Stigma-Free communities will raise awareness of resources and encourage residents to engage in care as soon as a need is identified, so that recovery can begin, hope is inspired and tragedies are avoided.’’

As part of the countywide initiative, residents are urged to take the Stigma Free Pledge:

Mount Arlington is the newest member of a less-than-two-year-old grass roots movement that recognizes the high prevalence of mental illness and substance use disorders in our communities.

The Stigma-Free initiative promotes re-education and understanding that can lead to treatment and recovery – minus the stigma associated with these illnesses.Mt. Arlington borough seal/logo

Mount Arlington joins a vast majority of Morris County municipalities that have signed on as Stigma-Free communities. Leaders of this movement from across the county are now working with school districts and faith-based groups to become active participants.

“Bringing our entire county community together with a concerted and united effort to help affected people seek recovery, without fear of stigma or reprisal, is quite a remarkable accomplishment,’’ said Morris County Freeholder Director Doug Cabana. “We are glad to be members of the Stigma-Free community, along with Mount Arlington.’’

In addition to Mount Arlington, other Stigma-Free towns are Boonton, Boonton Township, Butler, Chatham Borough, Chatham Township, Chester Borough, Chester Township, Denville, Dover, East Hanover, Hanover, Jefferson, Lincoln Park, Long Hill, Madison, Mendham Borough, Mine Hill, Montville, Mount Olive, Morris Plains, Morristown, Morris Township, Mountain Lakes, Netcong, Parsippany, Pequannock, Randolph, Rockaway Borough, Rockaway Township, Roxbury, Victory Gardens, and Washington Township, plus Morris County.

Stigma-Free Morris County: Mount Arlington Joins Mental Health and Addiction Initiative

Freeholder Kathy DeFillippo

“It is support shown for this Stigma-Free initiative by towns like Mount Arlington, and Mayor Stanzilis and the Council and their residents, that can make this grass roots effort succeed,’’ said Freeholder Kathy DeFillippo, the board’s liaison on Stigma-Free issues.

Here are a few of many voices in Morris County supporting the initiative:

Netcong Mayor Joseph Nametko:  “I am proud our Borough Council passed the resolution making Netcong an official Stigma-Free Borough. With this designation, we will work with our local organizations to insure we live up to the Stigma-Free title.’’

Chester Borough Mayor Janet Hoven: “Mental illness and drug abuse touch the lives of many, not only in Chester Borough, but in all of society. No one should feel less of a person regardless of an illness or addiction.  We support the initiative and hope that through this program, all residents will feel accepted and supported by all.’’

Chester Township Mayor Marcia Asdal:  “We understand that mental illness and addiction affect every community, and we know that no family or school or business is immune.’’

The Morris County Board of Freeholders in 2016 passed a resolution designating Morris County as a Stigma-Free County, joining an already established movement as a partner.

A Stigma Free website provides a members-provided wealth of 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, schools, and faith-based communities.

As part of the countywide initiative, residents are urged to take the Stigma Free Pledge:

For information on the disease of mental illness, visit and for information on NAMI’s national Stigma Free effort, visit:

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