“We are in this Together” Virtual Concert, Stories, Community Dinner — June 10

Mental Health Especially Challenged During Current Health Crisis

As the COVID-19 pandemic has taken lives and created economic chaos, it has created great stress on the mental health of many of our residents — an issue that will be part of the focus of the “Break the Stigma Virtual Music and Community Dinner” planned for all Morris County residents on Wednesday June 10.

The virtual event will featuring more than a dozen performers, story tellers, and featured speakers starting at 3 p.m.

The goal of this countywide event is to help lift the stigma of mental illness and substance use disorder, while building a strong and healthy community. It is particularly aimed at county residents may be struggling through this COVID-19 crisis.

If you are struggling with mental health issues, please visit the Morris County Stigma-Free website and check for COVID-19 resources.

“We are in the Together’’ is a coordinated effort of numerous organizations from across Morris County who are members of the county’s Stigma-Free Communities Initiative, which focuses on issues of mental health and substance use.

Included are Morris County’s LIFE Center Stage, Prevention is Key, Community Coalition for a Safe and Healthy Morris, Pequannock Township Coalition, and the Center for Addiction Recovery Education and Success (CARES).

June 10 Events:

3 p.m.: Concert/Stories– Visit PreventionisKey.CARES Facebook page.

5 p.m.,  Zoom Breaking Bread & Breaking Stigma panel discussion and Q & A. You must register for the panel event.

The 3 p.m. event will feature the following Breaking Stigma performers:

COVID-19 And Mental Illness, NAMI Releases Important Information

From NAMI:

The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), the nation’s largest grassroots mental health organization, released a guide to answer frequently asked questions regarding the intersection between Coronavirus, or COVID-19, and people affected by mental illness, their caregivers and loved ones.  Read the guide!

“We recognize that people living with mental illness face additional challenges dealing with COVID-19, as do their caregivers and loved ones,” said NAMI CEO Daniel H. Gillison, Jr. “That’s why we are releasing an information and resource guide with FAQs on a variety of topics from managing anxiety and social isolation to accessing healthcare and medications. NAMI is here to help.”

For more updates on mental illness and COVID-19, visit NAMI’s regularly updated webpage.

Heroin and Opioid Art Exhibition: Artist Calls

From Partnership for a Drug-Free New Jersey:

5th Annual Heroin and Opioid Art Exhibition

The Drug Enforcement Administration, New Jersey Division and the High-Intensity Drug Trafficking Area, in conjunction with the Partnership for a Drug-Free New Jersey, The Governor’s Council on Alcoholism and Drug Abuse along with the Ammon Foundation invite you to participate in the 5th Annual Heroin and Opioid Art Exhibition highlighting heroin and opioid abuse, addiction and recovery.

Deadline to submit: April 27th, 2020

Cash Prizes are awarded for 1st, 2nd, 3rd place and Honorable Mention

For more information please visit: drugfreenj.org/HeroinArtExhibit

“Suicide: The Ripple Effect” film

Q&A and Discussion on the topic will follow the film

A presentation of the documentary film “Suicide, the Ripple Effect,” will be shown Feb. 18 in Madison.  The film focuses on the devastating effects of suicide and the tremendous positive ripple that effects of advocacy, inspiration and hope that are creating to help millions heal and stay alive. It will be followed by a question and answer session and discussion.

The event is Tuesday, Feb. 18 at 6:30 p.m. at Drew University’s Ehinger Center, 36 Madison Avenue, Madison. Admission is free and the public is invited. The film is appropriate for ages 10 and up. For parking and directions, visit drew.edu/maps. For more information about the Feb. 18 event, email bboetticher@drew.edu. Download the flyer here: STRE Flyer.

The feature-length film chronicles the story of Kevin Hines, who at age 19 attempted to take his life by jumping from the Golden Gate Bridge. Since then, Kevin has been on a mission to use his story to help others stay alive and find recovery.

The event is sponsored by a trio of Drew University Civic Scholars, Brittany Boetticher, Katie Cashin and Hannah Winter, and is a continuation of Boetticher’s Girl Scout Gold Award program, when she organized events to show the film in Jefferson Township.

The countywide Morris County Stigma-Free initiative is focused on removing the stigma associated with mental illness and substance abuse, to foster a climate of healing and recovery.

The primary reason people fail to seek the help they need is due to the stigma associated with the disease of mental illness. 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.

Morris County is committed to disseminating information and fostering a stigma-free environment where people are free from judgment and can get the help they need to recover from diseases such as mental illness and substance abuse.

Prosecutor’s Office Participates at “A Night of Conversation – From Prescription to Addiction” at Lakeland Hills YMCA

On November 19, 2019, Morris County Prosecutor Fredric M. Knapp, Senator Anthony M. Bucco, Morris County Sheriff James M. Gannon, Lakeland Hills YMCA CEO Dr. Vik Joganow, and Chief Assistant Prosecutor Brad Seabury, presented on how the heroin and opioid epidemic is affecting New Jersey residents. The program was held at the Lakeland Hills YMCA in Mountain Lakes. Representatives from Morris County Sheriff’s Office’s Hope One, Saint Clare’s Behavioral Health and other substance abuse recovery providers were onsite providing information and education. About 30 audience members attended the presentation, including local high school students.

Prosecutor Knapp stressed that this epidemic does not escape any community, and insight imparted to attendees is intended to start community conversations in their households and upcoming Thanksgiving tables. The epidemic touches everyone, according to the Prosecutor.

Senator Bucco discussed the need for additional state funding to fight addiction and to secure more treatment facilities.

Sheriff Gannon discussed his Office’s Hope One program, a mobile recovery access vehicle which offers support for persons struggling with addiction, and medically-assisted treatment programs available at the Morris County Correctional Facility. Twice a week, Hope One travels to locations throughout Morris County with a Sheriff’s officer, a licensed clinician, and a peer recovery specialist to recovery services.

CAP Seabury noted that since 2014, at least 342 people in Morris County have lost their lives to heroin or prescription drug overdoses. CAP Seabury discussed the Overdose Prevention Act and Drug Court program, criminal justice measures to treat and not just incarcerate individuals suffering from substance abuse disorders.

Kate Garrity provided the audience with a heartfelt, firsthand story of how the Epidemic has affected her life. She shared the tragic story of her son who passed away in 2016 from an overdose, as a way to both keep his memory alive and to help inform the community that it can happen to their children whether they believe it will or not.

Prosecutor Knapp said “The heroin and opioid epidemic continues to be a scourge on the citizens of New Jersey. The Morris County Prosecutor’s Office, in partnership with other stakeholders, will continue to combat this epidemic through our various initiatives and our strong focus on educating the public.”

Inquiries concerning this press release should be directed to Public Information Officer Meghan Knab at mknab@co.morris.nj.us or pressinquiry@co.morris.nj.us or by phone at 973-829-8159.  

Break the Stigma – Start a Conversation!

From Life Center Stage:

Help us Break the Stigma and inspire hope! Please share this video and start a conversation!

On June 22, 2019, a festival dedicated to “Breaking the Stigma” was held on the Morristown Green. The festival was aimed at inspiring hope through the sharing of personal stories of recovery from substance use disorder and/or mental health. The community members performed original songs and cover songs related to their stories to raise awareness. Alternative community activities such as drumming, yoga, and interactive art, mask-making and a “I AM” photo shoot were available inviting the community to connect with one another. Six courageous and amazingly talented people shared their stories of recovery from substance use disorders, depression, boarderline personality, postpartum depression, eating disorders, and anxiety to help break the stigma that prevents far too many from seeking help. There is hope! Don’t give up!

Recovery Friendly Career Day at CARES

Rockaway, NJ, October 2019 – Join the Center for Addiction Recovery, Education & Success (CARES), Morris-Sussex-Warren Workforce Development Board, and employers in kicking off the first Recovery Career Day on Wednesday, October 23, from 10:00am-12pm.

The purpose of this event is to help people at any stage of recovery find community and purpose through work. This event will provide individuals with access to recovery in friendly employers and training programs. Participants will have the opportunity to apply for jobs and receive information on career training.

The event is FREE but registration is required. Contact Don Hebert at dhebert@mcpik.org.

The Center for Addiction Recovery, Education & Success works to engage and organize the recovery community by helping individuals find, maintain, and enhance their recovery experience through peer support, educational and volunteer opportunities and sober recreation, as well as working to reduce stigma associated with substance abuse through advocacy, education, and service.

Stigma-Free Mendhams: Special Program on Mental Health for Families — Oct. 3

A special program on family mental health issues will be held in Mendham Township on Thursday evening, Oct. 3,  at the Mendham Township Middle School.

The program, entitled “How Parents Can Support Positive Mental Health in their Children,” is sponsored by the Mendham Township School District and the Mendhams Stigma-Free Task Force.

It is open to all residents of Mendham Borough and Mendham Township, and residents of neighboring towns also are invited to attend.

  • Date: Thursday, Oct. 3, at 7  p.m.
  • Location: Mendham Township Middle School, 16 Washington Valley Rd, Brookside, NJ 07926
  • Speaker: Tracy Klingener, Assistant Director, Self-Help, Advocacy, & Education, with the Mental Health Association of Essex and Morris
  • Topic: “How Parents Can Support Positive Mental Health in their Children”
  • Sponsored by: Mendhams Stigma-Free Task Force & Mendham Township School District

The Mendham Township Committee and Mendham Borough Council both passed resolutions declaring their municipalities Stigma-Free, with an overriding goal to help eradicate the stigma associated with mental illness and with substance abuse disorders and get people who need help into treatment programs.

As part of the countywide initiative, residents are urged to take the Stigma Free Pledgehttps://morriscountystigmafree.org/take-the-pledge/

A Successful Stigma “Squash”

For August 31st’s International Overdose Awareness Day, the Partnership for a Drug-Free New Jersey asked NJ residents to participate in the “Squash the Stigma” water balloon challenge.

Participation was simple: The person needed to fill a few balloons with water, write stigmatizing words or beliefs on each balloon in marker, and then record themselves squashing them on the ground.

Check out the results! Thanks for all who participated!

Mind Matters 5K’ to benefit mental health programs at Madison Area YMCA

From the Madison YMCA:

MADISON – The public is asked to lace up its running shoes for the Madison Area YMCA‘s “The Mind Matters 5K” at 10 a.m. Sunday, Oct. 20, at the Giralda Farms office campus off Madison Avenue. The event also will feature a shorter, one-mile “Family Fun Run/Walk.” Families are encouraged to dress in Halloween costumes.

Supporters may register online at https://www.compuscore.com/Race/Register/NJ/Madison/TheMindMatters5k. Participants who register before Thursday, Oct. 10, will be charged “early bird fees” of $27 for the 5K, and $8 for the “Family Fun Run/Walk.” Registration is free for all children 7 and younger for the “Family Fun Run/Walk.” USA Track and Field (USATF) members will receive a $3 discount off the race registration fee on pre-entry. Same-day registration starts at 8:30 a.m.

The race is a fundraising event for YMCA’s Annual Fund, which “enables hundreds of children and families to participate in YMCA membership, innovative programming, wellness initiatives and services including childcare, early childhood education and summer camps at the Madison Area YMCA’s Family Center and the F.M. Kirby Children’s Center of the Madison Area YMCA,” according to CEO and President Diane Mann. YMCA CEO Mann noted that “The Mind Matters 5K” will support a range of mental health and wellness programs at the YMCA.

The Community Mental Health Initiative: “As mental health is rapidly becoming a leading issue across the nation, the YMCA has taken steps to establish the Community Mental Health Initiative to raise awareness and lower the stigmas associated with mental illness,” Mann said. “The Community Mental Health Initiative also focuses on reducing barriers to mental health care by providing community members with knowledge and skills” to help people cope with mental health issues.

Project Community Pride of the Madison Area YMCA: Mann explained, “Project Community Pride is a youth counseling program that has joined the YMCA as one of its community-based programs, and an important extension of youth development services for children, teens and their families throughout the Madison Area YMCA’s service area. The program was made possible through the collaboration of community leaders and the municipalities and school districts of the Chathams, Florham Park and Madison.”

Paths to Wellness: Mann further pointed out, “The Madison Area YMCA offers enriching community wellness and health-enhancing programs, including ‘Livestrong at the YMCA,’ a cancer survivors’ program; the Diabetes Prevention Program; ‘One Step,’ a multiple sclerosis program; ‘Delay the Disease,’ a Parkinson’s disease wellness program; ‘Enhance Fitness,’ an arthritis wellness program; and ‘Healthy Hearts,’ a post-cardiac rehabilitation program.” She added, “The YMCA also has a range of youth sports, youth leadership programs, enrichment classes and adult fitness classes.”

Mann summed up, “As a cause-driven charitable organization, the Madison Area YMCA is dedicated to nurturing the potential of every child and teen, and improving the community’s health and well-being and giving back by providing support to our neighbors.”

For information, contact Associate Development Director Melissa DeSalvo at (973) 822-9622, ext. 2248, or email mdesalvo@madisonymca.org.