This week I discovered that Hillsdale is a designated Stigma-Free Zone. Our town council adopted a resolution on December 9, 2014 (click here to read Resolution 14251). Did you know this? Do you know the meaning of Stigma-Free Zone?
1 in 4 adults experiences mental illness in a given year, and 1 in 17 adults live with a serious mental illness such as schizophrenia, major depression, or bipolar disorder; and approximately 20% of youth ages 13-18, and 13% of youth ages 8-15 experience severe mental disorders in a given year. Stigma-Free Zones aim to inspire public interest and open dialogue about stigma – to create a culture wherein people with mental illness are supported by their community.
So … did you know Hillsdale is a Stigma-Free Zone? If not, how can we help raise the awareness of the tragic effects of stigma of mental illness (or any other stigma-inducing human experience)?
Our church has been a welcoming church for people of difference – especially with our Drum Circle and support of the Special Olympics. We do this as disciples of Christ. We do this because this is our family. Can we help the rest of Hillsdale do the same? Should we?
I’d like to hear your thoughts. Enclosed is the Stigma-Free Toolkit created by/for Bergen County. Let me know if you are inspired to do more.
In Christ's Peace, Lisa