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Diocesan Resolution 2016_AC142_03: Declaration of the Episcopal Diocese of Newark As A Mental Illness Stigma-Free Organization

RESOLVED, That this 142nd Convention of the Episcopal Diocese of Newark shall strive to be a Mental Illness Stigma-Free Organization and encourage all parishes and organizations in its jurisdiction to join the Stigma Free Campaign, and report plans and progress in this area to the Engaging Action Team of Diocesan Council by the 143rd Convention.

Submitted by: Louis J. Knaub, Christ Church Hackensack; Mary E. Sunden, Grace Church Westwood

Supporting Information

A Stigma-Free Campaign is a grass-roots program which aims to reduce the stigma associated with mental illness by raising awareness to the disease, creating a culture wherein individuals with mental illness feel supported by their community and feel free to seek treatment without fear of stigma.

The World Health Organization ranks mental health disorders as the leading cause of disability in the United States and that 1 in 4 adults experience a diagnosable mental disorder in any given year and that 1 in 17 adults live with a serious mental illness such as schizophrenia or bipolar disorder, but more than half do not seek treatment.

The primary reason individuals fail to seek the help they need is due to the stigma associated with mental illness, including shame and fear of judgement from others.  The elimination of stigma enables those with mental illness to seek assistance when needed so recovery may begin, hope is inspired and tragedies are avoided.

The Episcopal Diocese of Newark hopes to raise awareness of the disease of mental illness, provide an effective way to reduce the stigma associated with the disease and encourage those affected to seek services and feel supported.  This includes raising awareness of local resources, educating the community, creating safe spaces in our environment and fostering a culture of understanding and support so that no individual continues to feel hopeless or alone. 

Additional information can be found at these web links:

Supporters: Christ Church Hackensack: Reverend Michael Gerhardt; Dianne Nelson and Catherine Hughes, Wardens  
Christ Church Community Development Corporation: Louis J. Knaub, President; Marjorie Jingo, Secretary; Mary E. Sunden, Executive Director

Resource Date: 
Jan 30, 2016