News from the Somerset County Board of County Commissioners
Shanel Y. Robinson, Commissioner Director | Melonie Marano, Commissioner Deputy Director
Doug Singleterry, Commissioner | Sara Sooy, Commissioner | Paul M. Drake, Commissioner
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
May 4, 2022
Somerset County Schedules First Ever “Stigma Free Conference” in North Plainfield on May 13
Free Programs for Residents, Community Leaders, and Professionals to Focus on Identifying and Removing Stigmas for Mental Health and Substance Use
SOMERVILLE, NJ – Stigma Free Somerset County will hold its first annual Stigma Free Conference on May 13 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the North Plainfield Community Center. The Conference will be educational for anyone interested in learning more about mental health issues and available services, whether professionals, community leaders, residents who have or know someone with a mental health condition, or anyone interested in becoming a Stigma Free advocate.
“When we declared North Plainfield a Stigma Free Community in 2017 it was a big step forward for the efforts to support people with mental health conditions,” said Commissioner Doug Singleterry who served on the North Plainfield Borough Council at that time. “That we’re hosting the first Somerset County Stigma Free Conference in my hometown is totally appropriate and particularly gratifying.”
The North Plainfield Community Center, at 614 Greenbrook Road, will open to participants at 9:30 a.m. with light breakfast fare, and a lunch will be available between programs. Presentations will include the new national 988 Suicide Prevention Hotline, finding services in Somerset County, how mental health issues can be different for youth or in multicultural communities, and the many pathways to recovery. Several non-profits and organizations will also be on hand to provide information on their services and help direct any residents who are looking to access mental health care for themselves or a loved one.
Registration and more information are available online at https://www.eventbrite.com/e/stigma-free-somerset-county-mental-health-conference-registration-288640580747
The national Alliance on Mental Illness estimates that twenty percent of Americans are living with a diagnosable mental health condition in any one year, meaning that almost 70,000 of our Somerset County friends, family and neighbors may need support or treatment. Somerset County provides mental health services through its Mental Health Board, Richard Hall Community Health & Wellness Center, and by funding numerous programs through local non-profits and medical providers.
Somerset County initiated its Stigma Free campaign – Stop The Ignorance, Gain More Awareness — in 2017 to raise awareness of the tangible impact mental health stigmas have not just on those with a diagnosable condition, but also on the community at large. The campaign initially worked with municipalities, educational facilities, and faith-based organizations to provide education and train advocates to expand the movement. Recently the County included local employers in the effort with the “Make It Your Business to Be Stigma Free” campaign.
To find information on Somerset County’s Stigma Free campaign, or to sign the pledge as an individual or business, please use the following links.
- Stigma Free Information and Toolkit: http://soconj.gov/stigmafreepledge
- Stigma Free Pledge for Individuals: http://soconj.gov/i-stigmafreepledge
- Stigma Free Pledge for Businesses: http://soconj.gov/b-stigmafreepledge
For more information on Stigma Free Somerset County or to get involved, reach out to Meg Isbitski, Somerset County’s Assistant Mental Health Administrator, at firstname.lastname@example.org or 908-704-6300.
Somerset County Board of County Commissioners
Somerset County is governed and managed by the Board of County Commissioners. The Board consists of five members with one or two elected each year in November in the general election, and they each serve three-year terms. Commissioners serve as liaisons to all divisions in the county.