Interfaith’s annual Stop the Stigma 5K supports local mental health care and addiction recovery
Run or Walk to Help Stop the Stigma
Nearly all of us have been touched in some way by mental illness or addiction. Whether it is personal battles with anxiety or depression, the loss of a loved one to the vicious grip of substance abuse or knowing a friend or neighbor living with a mental health condition, we can all take action to stop societal stigmas against mental illness.
Each spring, Interfaith Social Services hosts the Stop the Stigma 5K to support loved ones, challenge stereotypes, encourage acceptance and eliminate mental health stigmas, all while raising funds for Interfaith’s New Directions Counseling Center. The event is now in its 47th year.
Until it is again safe to gather in large groups, the Stop the Stigma 5K has converted to a virtual format, with participants running the 5K routes of their choice and sharing accomplishments online. While the excitement of the starting line crowd may be missing, running a virtual race allows a nationwide audience to participate in spreading the Stop the Stigma message. In 2020, runners raised funds and spread the word from Maine to Florida all the way to Hawaii!
To participate in the event, first register at stopthestigma5k.org. Then run or walk the 5K route of your choice the last week of April (April 26 – May 2). After the race, participants can log in online to share their finish times and photos. There will be photo contests, with prizes, for those who share images with categories such as “Craziest running socks,” “Most scenic route,” and “Best Stop the Stigma spirit.”
Participants registered by April 2 are eligible to receive a Stop the Stigma t-shirt and finisher’s medal.
The Stop the Stigma 5K raises crucial funds to support Interfaith’s New Directions Counseling Center. New Directions serves anyone seeking counseling but prides itself on being a safety net for the uninsured and underinsured members of our community. New Directions makes mental health care accessible to everyone by offering a sliding scale payment system.
The stresses of the coronavirus pandemic have brought even more people to New Directions Counseling Center. “Since the pandemic began one year ago, my client load has doubled,” said New Directions Counselor Anne Donovan. “Alcohol, other drug use and suicides have increased at an alarming rate. Addiction is a disease of isolation.”
By supporting the Stop the Stigma 5K, participants are helping to ensure all members of the community can get the help they need and seek out treatment without feeling shamed. Just a single registration fee for the 5K provides one counseling session for a neighbor.
Businesses can also show their support by sponsoring the event.
Sponsorship directly impacts those seeking mental health treatment by providing counseling sessions for those in need. Interfaith is grateful for the generous local business sponsors that have already come on board. Major 5K level ($5,000+) sponsors include Arbella Insurance Foundation and The Heritage Companies. Gold level ($2,500) sponsors include Beth Israel Deaconess Hospital – Milton, IntelyCare, and J. Calnan & Associates. And Silver level ($1,000) sponsors include Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts, First Congregational Church of Randolph UCC, Keohane Funeral Home, Plymouth Quarries, Signet Electronics, South Shore Health, and UnitedHealthcare.
Not a runner? No problem. You can also support the effort with a monetary donation.
Find more information, donate, or register for the race at stopthestigma5k.org.