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Ridgewood to Launch Stigma Free Campaign With July 4th Parade Participation


June 28,2016

the staff of the Ridgewood blog

Ridgewood NJ, The Ridgewood Health Department will launch their new Stigma Free campaign with a marching group in the Ridgewood Fourth of July parade. Dawn Cetrulo, Ridgewood Health Department Supervisor, invites participants to join the group. Those interested should contact her at

The Bergen County Stigma-Free Campaign 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.

The World Health Organization ranks mental health disorders as the leading cause of disability in the United States and Canada. Mental illnesses, such as depression, anxiety or alcohol and substance use disorders, are extremely common in America. 1 in 4 adults experience a diagnosable mental disorder in a given year [approximately 61.5 million Americans] and 1 in 17 adults live with a serious mental illness such as schizophrenia or bipolar disorder. Yet more than half will not seek treatment. Why?

Despite its prevalence in our society, mental health still has stigma attached to it. The primary reason individuals fail to seek the help they need is due to the stigma associated with the disease of mental illness. Main reasons cited are shame and fear of judgment from friends, family and co-workers. Such judgment is often rooted in a lack of knowledge or training. It is our goal to disseminate information and foster a stigma-free environment where people are free from judgment and can get the help they need to recover from disease.

Stigma-Free Zones aim to inspire public interest and open dialogues about stigma. The County of Bergen and several Bergen County towns have already passed Stigma-Free resolutions. Establishing Stigma-Free Zones will raise awareness of the local mental health resources available so no resident needs to feel hopeless or alone. Stigma-Free Zones will encourage residents to break down barriers and be mindful of their mental health and ask for help when needed. 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.

The Ridgewood Health Department hopes to gather a team of dedicated residents who can help enhance the culture of caring in our community. The Ridgewood Health Department hopes to involve municipal alliance leaders, government leaders, local business owners, the board of education, Rotary clubs, FW/American Legions, faith communities, school service groups. Anyone interested in being a part of the Ridgewood is Stigma Free Task Force should contact Dawn Cetrulo, Ridgewood Health Department Supervisor, at

One thought on “Ridgewood to Launch Stigma Free Campaign With July 4th Parade Participation

  1. This is a brilliant development! Thank you Ms. Cetrulo!

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