Nearly all of us have been touched in some way by mental illness or addiction. Whether it’s 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 raise our voices against mental health stigma.
Each spring, Interfaith Social Services hosts the Stop the Stigma 5K to support our loved ones, challenge stereotypes, encourage acceptance and eliminate stigmas, all while raising funds for our New Directions Counseling Center.
In a non-COVID year, we would all come together at the Kennedy Center in North Quincy and walk/run a beautifully scenic course along the waterfront in Squantum. Until it is again safe to gather in large groups, we have taken our community online, running the 5K routes of our choice and sharing our accomplishments online. While the excitement of the starting line crowd may be missing, running a virtual race gives us the opportunity to share the Stop the Stigma message with a nationwide audience. In 2020, runners raised funds and spread the word from Maine to Florida all the way to Hawaii!
We invite you to participate by running or walking a 5K of your choice the last week of April (April 26 – May 2). You can sign up here. After the race, log back in to share your finish time and a photo from your run. We’ll have photo contests (with prizes!) such as “Craziest running socks,” “Most scenic route,” and “Best Stop the Stigma spirit” so be sure to share a photo!
Register by April 2 to be guaranteed a Stop the Stigma t-shirt and finisher’s medal. You’ll be able to pick up your shirt and medal at Interfaith the week before the race (details will be emailed to you). And keep an eye on our Facebook page – you’ll be able to vote on this year’s t-shirt color in just a few weeks!
As we mentioned before, our Stop the Stigma 5K raises crucial funds to support Interfaith’s New Directions Counseling Center. New Directions serves anyone seeking counseling, but we pride ourselves 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 outbreak have brought even more people to our Counseling Center. We need your help more than ever to make sure all members of the community can get the help they need and seek out treatment without feeling shamed. Your registration fee alone provides one counseling session for a neighbor suffering with a mental illness.
We are also seeking business to sponsor the Stop the Stigma Virtual 5K. Your sponsorship directly impacts those seeking mental health treatment by providing counseling sessions for those in need. With a sponsorship your company will also get exposure to the South Shore community on our T-shirts, roadside banners, mailings and communications. Contact us now to get started!
Not a runner? No problem. You can also support the effort with a monetary donation here.