Making Mental Health Stigma-Free, a Priority in Paramus, New Jersey
From CarePlusNJ.org – July 31, 2013
Concerned citizens, business leaders, and local government officials of Paramus have found common ground on a highly publicized topic: mental illness. This commonality has inspired them to form a coalition to create a “Stigma-Free Zone” for the borough.
What is a Stigma-Free Zone?
The proposal of designating Paramus a “Stigma-Free Zone” was developed out of seeing a need from a concerned citizen of Paramus, Mary Ann Uzzi. Through her work on the Care Plus NJ, Inc. board of trustees – a mental health care organization headquartered in Paramus – she became aware of the effort to designate Hoboken a Stigma-Free Zone back in 2011. Seeing first hand how stigma and fear prevent so many from seeking help, as well as observing the positive outcomes for those who do receive treatment, she made it a personal mission to gather community members and business to band together and bring the public awareness initiative to Paramus.
The goal of a community initiative such as this is to involve a variety of members of the community – including the Mayor and Council, Board of Health and Human Services, Chamber of Commerce, public safety and law enforcement, mental health providers, mental health advocates, local businesses, schools, and concerned citizens – and develop programs and activities to engage the community at large, to educate and thereby eliminate the stigma often attached to those who suffer from mental illness. Read more…