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Stigma-Free Committee

Stigma-Free Initiative:

The Fair Lawn Stigma-Free iniative 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.

What is Stigma & Why is it a Problem?

Stigma is when someone, or even you yourself, views a person in a negative way just because they have a mental health condition. Some people describe stigma as a feeling of shame or judgement from someone else. Stigma can even come from an internal place, confusing feeling bad with being bad.

  • Navigating life with a mental health condition can be tough, and the isolation, blame and secrecy that is often encouraged by stigma can create huge challenges to reaching out, getting needed support and living well. Learning how to avoid and address stigma are important for all of us, especially when you realize stigma’s effects:
  • People experiencing mental health conditions often face rejection, bullying and discrimination. This can make their journey to recovery longer and more difficult.
  • Mental health conditions are the leading cause of disability across the United States.
  • Even though most people can be successfully treated, less than half of the adults in the U.S. who need services and treatment get the help they need.
  • The average delay between the onset of symptoms and intervention is 8-10 years.
  • Suicide is the second leading cause of death of youth ages 15-24 and the tenth leading cause of death for all Americans.

Find more information at: National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI)

What is a Stigma-Free Zone:

Stigma-Free Zones encourage residents to break down barriers and be mindful of their mental health and ask for help when needed. Establishing Stigma-Free Zones will raise awareness of the local mental health resources available so no resident needs to feel hopeless or alone. The disease of mental illness has the potential to worsen if left untreated and complications arise when individuals do not seek help. It is essential that residents engage in care as soon as the need is identified so recovery can begin, hope is inspired and tragedies are avoided.

Fair Lawn is proud to be a Stigma-Free Zone! 

Here are 5 ways you can help eliminate stigma in Fair Lawn (and beyond!)

1.) Learn

     -There are plenty of resources available to learn more about mental illness.

2.) Be Kind

     -Think about your behavior towards and responses to another who may be displaying symptoms.

3.) Share

     -We post helpful resources on our Facebook page. Share them with others. 

4.) Create Awareness

     -Post one of our signs in front of your home or business to let others know you care.

5.) Sponsor an Event

     -Contact us for upcoming events and be a sponsor.

Are you looking for treatment and support? 


Check out the Mental Health Resources Section for more resources. 

How to Join the Stigma-Free Effort: 

Join a coalition of concerned citizens, business leaders, local government, and school officials as we work to build a community that supports training, education, and dialogue about mental illness. If you are interested in attending a meeting or joining the Stigma-Free Committee, please contact Carol Wagner at or call 201-794-5327. 

Last Updated: Thu, 04/07/2022 - 2:31pm