October 4, 2022
Governor Phil Murphy recently signed a proclamation declaring this week, October 2 through October 8, 2022, as Mental Illness Awareness Week in New Jersey.
The proclamation highlighted a number of challenges relating to mental illness that New Jersey is facing, as well as many of the successes that have and continue to be made in this realm. The proclamation defined mental health as "emotional and psychological well-being, which allows individuals to work, enjoy satisfying relationships and participate fully in their communities." It was further stated that studies show a person's mental health is as important as their physical condition is to their overall wellbeing; and that one in five individuals will have experienced a mental health condition in a given year, and that half of all Americans will experience mental illness during their lifetime.
The COVID-19 pandemic and the increased stress and social isolation that resulted from it have all resulted in greater levels of anxiety, depression, and alcohol and substance use.
It was also noted that great strides have been made in New Jersey to raise awareness about the importance of mental health to prevent suicide, and to know that wellness and recovery are possible for all who live with mental illness.
At the end of the proclamation, Governor Murphy stated that it is New Jersey's goal to "ensure that individuals with mental illness can lead independent, meaningful and fulfilling lives in their communities, while striving to help its citizens cope with the effects of COVID-19."