HUNTERDON COUNTY, NJ – Following up on the Hunterdon County Commissioner Board’s recent allocation of $300,000 toward mental health services, County Commissioner Jeff Kuhl is calling on all municipalities in the county to join the campaign to make the county Stigma Free By ’23.
Kuhl, the Board’s liaison to the Human Services Department, said at a recent board meeting, “I have reached out to Mayors and governing bodies throughout Hunterdon County requesting that, by the end of the year, they designate each of their municipalities as Stigma Free zones. To work towards the goal of the entire county being stigma free by ’23.”
“It is widely recognized that untreated mental health issues are at the core of the numerous violent events around the nation, where so many have been randomly killed, wounded, or traumatized. While a very small percentage of those in need of mental health care will ever turn violent, all those who have mental health issues need our help and understanding, and many face the stigma associated with mental illness that prevents them from seeking help,” Kuhl said.
Kuhl said, “One of the most daunting barriers to seeking mental health assistance is the labelling, the negative judgement of others, and the prejudice stigmatizing those in need of help. The Stigma Free By ’23 campaign aims to create greater public awareness of and having the public become better educated about the negative effects of stigma, towards the goal of creating stigma free environments in the home, the workplace, at school, everywhere.”
“Many have already rallied to the cause of being stigma free. The Rotary Club, here in the County, and in the nation, has been in the forefront of the cause of promoting a stigma free environment. Hunterdon County’s then Board of Freeholders declared the County stigma free in 2015 and High Bridge, Lambertville, Flemington, Frenchtown, and the Town of Clinton have approved Stigma Free resolutions previously,” Kuhl said.
“We need to continue to work towards ensuring those who need help get help, before it is a problem. Allowing those individuals to do so without the feelings of shame or disgrace. Without judgement by others. For Hunterdon County to be stigma free by 23,” Kuhl said.