Freeholders Proclaim September As Mental Health And Drug Abuse Recovery Month

The Morris County Board of Freeholders has proclaimed September as “Recovery Month in Morris County,’’ part of a national observance held each September to educate all residents that substance use treatment and mental health services can enable persons dealing with those problems to live healthy and rewarding lives.

Each September, as part of Recovery Month, prevention, treatment, and recovery programs and facilities in Morris County are highlighted, and new efforts are unveiled to help in this effort.

An important aspect of these efforts is promoting recovery and reducing the stigma associated with addiction and mental disorders.

The Freeholders in June declared that Morris County is a “Stigma Free’’ community, and asked all of the county’s 39 towns to join in the countywide effort to help eradicate the stigma associated with mental illness and substance abuse disorders.

“National Recovery Month is a time to educate our residents that substance abuse treatment and mental health services can enable those with disorders to live healthy and rewarding lives,’’ said Freeholder Director Kathy DeFillippo. “It celebrates the gains made by those in recovery here Morris County, just as we celebrate health improvements made by those who are managing other health conditions, such as hypertension, diabetes and heart disease.’’

Deputy Freeholder Director Hank Lyon added, “The goal is to reinforce the positive message that behavioral health is essential to overall health, that prevention works and treatment is effective, and that people can and do recover.’’

Accepting the Recovery Month proclamation at the freeholders’ Aug. 24 meeting were Morris County Addictions Services Administrator Beth Jacobson and Chairwoman of the Morris County Mental Health Addiction Services Advisory Board Marcy McMann, along with the following community representatives: Kelly Sallie, Patrice Picard and Sylvia Lippe, of Cornerstone Family Programs; and Barbara Kauffman, Alton Robinson and Melody Runyon of the CARES Recovery Center.

Mental and/or substance use disorders affect millions of Americans and directly touch the lives of individuals, family members, neighbors and colleagues.

Given the widespread impact and societal cost of these behavioral conditions, it’s important for communities to make prevention, treatment and recovery support available and accessible for all who need them.

Every September, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration sponsors National Recovery Month to increase awareness of behavioral health conditions. The theme for 2016 is “Join the Voices for Recovery: Our Families, Our Stories, Our Recovery,’’ which invites individuals in recovery and their family members to share their personal stories and successes in order to encourage others.

Morris County’s goal in creating a Stigma Free communities is 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, said Becker.

As part of the county’s initiative, residents are urged to make 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.

For more information on the county’s Stigma Free campaign, visit:

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