Rutherford Now a Stigma-Free Zone
by Kim Bogosian
In 2018, Rutherford created the Stigma-Free Committee to support the Stigma-Free Resolution passed earlier in the year as part of the broader Bergen County Stigma-Free Initiative, which aims to reduce the stigma associated with mental illness.
Joining the Stigma-Free Initiative will help Rutherford:
• 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
The Stigma-Free Committee was recently able to purchase metal signs which will be posted at entry points to the borough with the help of funds from the Municipal Alliance. The two committees have complimentary missions, as Municipal Alliance works to address substance abuse prevention, which is is often associated with mental health disorders.
The Stigma Free Committee is working toward a poster and essay contest in partnership with our schools during Suicide Prevention Month in September, 2019.