NJ woman tows casket on foot for 3 days across NJ to demand mental health reform
NJ1015.com video by Michael Symons
TRENTON — A woman dragged a casket from her home in Cape May County to the steps of the Statehouse to raise awareness for mental health issues.
As she arrived at her destination Wednesday, Greta Schwartz, of Seaville, broke down in tears.
It was the third and final day of the 48-year-old's journey to meet with lawmakers. The restaurant owner and former actor says she started the third leg of walk with blisters on her feet, but hit her stride once adrenaline kicked in.
Schwartz said mental health should be treated like physical health in terms of the attention it should receive from policy makers and health insurance companies.
“In order for us to make a change we need to get loud get in their face,” she said.
The casket was covered with the names of about 90 people who committed suicide or died of a drug overdose. Some of the names are of people Schwartz knew, others were added by people she met along her journey.
She says she got the idea for the walk after attending a symposium on the issue of mental health treatment and suicide last year. She also says her son attended school with students who took their own lives, as well.
“There’s such a stigma with mental health that people don’t come out and ask for help and demand change because they are ashamed. We need to change that. Everybody needs to know its ok and you deserve to be treated.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
Sergio Bichao is deputy digital editor at New Jersey 101.5. Send him news tips: Call 609-438-1015 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.