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Stigma Free Zone/Mental Health Awareness

The Borough of Old Tappan proudly passed by resolution to become a "Stigma Free Zone."  The 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.

Although mental illness is a disease of the mind, society fosters an environment that labels individuals with mental disorders as inferior and subordinate. Old Tappan is one of the many towns that have signed up to join the STIGMA-FREE Campaign, a country-wide program which aims at reducing the stigma associated with mental illness.

People refrain from talking about mental illness in fear of offending someone, but talking about it is the only way to educate ourselves and eliminate the shame and fear of judgment felt by the mentally ill in our community. Old Tappan is determined to break down these barriers and work towards fostering an environment that supports residents with mental disorders.

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.

What is Mental Illness?

Mental illnesses refer to disorders generally characterized by dysregulation of mood, thought, and/or behavior. Mental illness encompasses a variety of disorders ranging from depression and anxiety to substance and alcohol use disorder and bipolar disorder. Mental illnesses can affect persons of any age, race, religion or income.

Quick Facts

  • 1 in 4 adults experience a diagnosable mental disorder in a given year, approximately 61.5 million Americans
  • 1 in 17 adults live with a serious mental illness such as schizophrenia or bipolar disorder
  • 8 million deaths are caused by mental health disorders each year

2023 Resource Additions:

Contact Information

In case of emergency or in the event that you, a friend, or a close loved one is experiencing a mental health crisis, 
CALL 911 or (201) 262-HELP.

NJ Hopeline
NJ Department of Children and Families


Treatment & Support

CarePlus NJ
(201) 986-5000
610 Valley Health Plaza
Paramus, NJ 07652
(800) 730-2762
230 E. Ridgewood Avenue
Paramus, NJ 07652

Veterans Crisis Line
1 (800) 273-8255
Chat online or text 838255

Helpful Links