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Stigma-Free Zone
The Bergen County STIGMA-FREE Initiative is a county-wide program which aims to reduce the stigma associated with mental illness. We are dedicated to raising awareness of the disease of mental illness and create a culture wherein residents who have the disease feel supported by their community and neighbors and feel free to seek treatment for the disease without fear of stigma.

 Joining the Stigma-Free Initiative will:
  • Educate residents that mental illness is a disease and must be treated as such
  • Raise awareness of the prevalence of mental illness in our community
  • Provoke public interest in learning what is “STIGMA-FREE”
  • Providing residents an opportunity to become involved in their community
  • Allow people living with the disease to feel supported by their community and thus decrease feelings of isolation and shame
  • Link people in need to local mental health resources
  • Raise awareness that care is accessible regardless of income

If you would like more information 
or call 201-634-2745.

In addition to Bergen Co. officially being Stigma-Free, some of our towns have taken it one step further by individually declaring that they are Stigma-Free!

See Which Bergen County Towns Are Stigma-Free »

Michele Hart-Loughlin
Program Coordinator
Bergen County Department of Health Services
Division of Mental Health
One Bergen County Plaza
4th Floor
Hackensack, NJ 07601

What is Stigma?
Stigma is a mark of disgrace which results from the judgment by others. When an individual is labelled by their illness they experience judgment and prejudice. Stigma brings experiences and feelings of shame, embarrassment, distress, hopelessness and reluctance to seek or accept help. As a result, stigma is the primary reason individuals do not seek help when they experience symptoms of mental illness.