Hundreds run and walk in Quincy to Stop the Stigma
Interfaith’s Annual Stop the Stigma 5K Breaks Down Barriers to Mental Health Treatment
QUINCY, Mass. (May 10, 2021) – Interfaith Social Services’ recent Stop the Stigma Virtual 5K raised a record-breaking $77,000 last month, with more than 400 participants walking and running to support those affected by mental illness and addiction. The annual race brings awareness to social stigmas and breaks down financial barriers surrounding mental health care. Proceeds benefit the New Directions Counseling Center at Interfaith.
New Directions Counseling Center in Quincy serves anyone seeking counseling but prides itself on being a safety net for the uninsured and underinsured members of our community. New Directions removes financial barriers to treatment by offering a sliding scale payment system, making mental health care accessible to all. Proceeds from the 47th annual Stop the Stigma Virtual 5K will provide more than 2,500 counseling sessions for those that are uninsured or cannot afford high co-pays or deductibles.
In addition to providing financial assistance for counseling services, the 5K opens the dialogue about mental health stigma in hopes that those suffering will feel more comfortable to seek out the help they need without feeling shame.
A few 2021 participants shared why taking part in the race is important to them:
WHY I RAN: After personally witnessing the effects of addiction in her family, Alyssa wanted to understand the biology of substance use disorders. Now she is finishing her PhD in neuroscience at Tufts University to understand how alcohol changes the conversations between brain cells. She ran the Stop the Stigma 5K this year for the nearly 90% of people who never receive appropriate addiction counseling and is grateful to be able to help South Shore families access the help they need.
WHY I RAN: Mary from Quincy shared: “My husband of 29 years just died on January 2. He passed away from alcoholism and had anxiety and major depressive disorder. Despite all the benefits in front of him, he could not fight the demons. My three sons and I don’t want this to happen to another family. New Directions is helping me by offering grief counseling. The Stop the Stigma 5K raises money so people less fortunate can get the help they need.”
More than 400 participants from as far away as Hawaii and Key West, Florida took part in the virtual event. They walked or ran the 5K routes of their choice between April 26 and May 2 and shared their completion times and race photos online. Many participants collected pledges from friends and family, increasing the impact of their contributions.
Several local businesses showed their support by sponsoring the event, including major 5K level sponsors Arbella Insurance Foundation and The Heritage Companies, Gold level sponsors Beth Israel Deaconess Hospital – Milton, Harvard Pilgrim Health Care Foundation, IntelyCare, and J. Calnan & Associates, and Silver level sponsors Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts, First Congregational Church of Randolph UCC, Keohane Funeral Home, Plymouth Quarries, SIGNET Electronics, South Shore Health, and UnitedHealthcare.