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Stigma-Free Initiative Raises Funds for Further Training

The Stigma-Free campaign was recently featured at “Rock, Roll & Food Trucks,” an event hosted on Memorial Day by Faith Community Christian Reformed Church (CRC) in Wyckoff to benefit the Wyckoff Stigma-Free initiative.

Hundreds of community members came out to support the growing campaign, which is part of a Bergen County-wide effort to reduce the stigma associated with mental illness. It is dedicated to raising awareness of mental health and creating a culture wherein residents feel supported by their community and neighbors feel free to seek treatment for the disease without fear of stigma.

The primary reason individuals fail to seek help 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.

“We strive to reduce and ultimately eliminate the stigma associated with mental illness so all those affected will feel supported by their community and feel free to seek treatment,” said Cathy Pilone, MSN, RN, NEA-BC, Director of Service Excellence/Patient-resident Experience at Christian Health (CHCC) and Stigma-Free Committee member. “The Center is wholeheartedly committed to Wyckoff Stigma Free as we engage the community in education, training, and collaborative dialogue to ensure we move forward on this very important initiative.”

The event featured food trucks and local bands, and patrons made their way through different games and display tables. The initiative raised $1,945, which will be used to provide a valuable eight-hour course for first responders on mental health first-aid specifically for youth. The Stigma-Free Committee will sponsor the training at Christian Health (CHCC) in conjunction with Faith Community CRC.

For more information about the Stigma-Free Campaign, visit

Cosette Fix, Maura Holden, and Isabella Malkani, all from Randolph, NJ.

Pictured from left to right: Cosette Fix, Maura Holden, and Isabella Malkani, all from Randolph, NJ.