September is national Suicide Prevention Awareness Month, and the Mendhams Stigma-Free Task Force asks residents to join us in our mission of removing the stigma around mental health issues.
Especially now during the COVID-19 pandemic, anxiety and stress have increased dramatically. People are concerned about getting sick and unwittingly spreading the illness to a vulnerable loved one. There are heightened worries about lost income and unemployment. Many are struggling with social isolation. Parents and students are facing unknowns with the start of a new school year. And, overall, there is a pervasive uncertainty about the future.
As a result, calls to New Jersey’s suicide prevention hotlines have escalated. And young adults are among the most at risk. In a report issued last month by the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, one in four young adults, between the ages of 18-24, said they had considered suicide in the past month because of the pandemic, and more than 40% of those surveyed indicated they have experienced a mental or behavioral health condition connected to COVID-19.
Our own community has experienced the heartbreaking loss of young people who died by suicide, which brought us together in collective grief and support for those families.
The Stigma-Free Task Force hopes this month will serve as a catalyst to focus on mental health. We encourage residents to seek support for themselves and to help family, friends and neighbors seek help. A simple check-in text, phone call or e-mail can go a long way toward showing someone they are not alone.
You can visit our Stigma-Free Task Force Webpage, to access a variety of resources, hotlines, community organization and support groups at: http://www.mendhamtownship.org/cn/webpage.cfm?tpid=17312
You can also follow the Stigma-Free Task Force on Facebook and Instagram @mendhamstigmafree.
Below is a list of resources that are a good place to start in seeking help for you or a loved one:
NJMentalHealthCares - If you are feeling the emotional and mental toll of COVID-19, call (866-202-4327) for free, confidential support from trained specialists 7 days a week, from 8 a.m. – 8 p.m.
Crisis Text Line - Free 24/7 support for those in crisis. Text 741741 from anywhere in the United States to get support from a trained crisis counselor.
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline - Offers free and confidential support for people in distress. (800-273-TALK)
NJ Hopeline - Specialists are available 24/7 for confidential telephone counseling and support. (855-NJ-HOPELINE - 855-654-6735)
2ND FLOOR - A confidential, anonymous helpline for New Jersey's youth and young adults. (Call or text - 888-222-2228)
ReachNJ.gov - Helps individuals identify, prevent, treat and recover from substance abuse. Call to speak with a resource officer and find the nearest treatment facility. (844-Reach-NJ)
Join us to End the Stigma!
Mendhams Stigma-Free Task Force
Amalia Duarte, Chair and Mendham Township Committeewoman
Mary Kornick, Mendham Borough Liaison
Trish O'Brien Meyer