Stigma Free

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The Borough of Lincoln Park and the Lincoln Park Health Department are dedicated to raising awareness and reducing bias and prejudice in our community. What is stigma? Stigma is the disapproval of, or discrimination against, a person based on perceivable characteristics that serve to distinguish them from other members of a society. Stigmas are commonly related to culture, gender, sexual preference, race, intelligence, disabilities and mental health. Our vision is a community where all people are respected, treated fairly, feel safe and our differences are valued. 

Putting Stigma in Perspective

The following scenario may help enlighten how people with a stigma feel,  Imagine you have breast cancer. Now imagine that instead of the community and society in general supporting your illness by wearing pink clothing, putting on pink ribbons and hanging banners of support, society blames you for your illness. Imagine others looking at you with accusing eyes and whispering about you behind your back when they find out you have breast cancer. Imagine feeling fearful of seeking proper medical help because you’re afraid you’ll lose your job if anyone finds out about it. People with stigmas must cope with this on a daily basis. But why should they? Let’s work together to stop the stigma.

Be Stigma-Free

The Morris County Stigma-Free Communities Initiative is a county-wide program which aims to eradicate the stigma associated with mental illness and substance use disorders.

We are dedicated to raising awareness of these illnesses by creating an environment where affected individuals are supported in their efforts to achieve wellness and recovery. 

Stigma Free Toolkit

Click for more information

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b  Opens in new windowB Stigma-Free is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization committed to reducing stigma, bias and prejudice. We aim to foster understanding and respect of people perceived as having a difference. Through education, advocacy, storytelling and community engagement, we partner with others who share our commitment for all people to be included and respected for who they are. Click on the b for more information.

Seven Important things we can do to reduce Stigma and Discrimination

1. Know the facts.

Educate yourself about mental health problems. Learn the facts instead of the myths. 

2. Be aware of your attitudes and behavior.

We’ve all grown up with prejudices and judgmental thinking. But we can change the way we think! See people as unique human beings, not as labels or stereotypes. See the person; they have many other personal attributes that do not disappear due to their gender identity, familial status, gender identification, sexual orientation, religion, national origin, race, age or disability.

3. Choose your words carefully

The way we speak can affect the way other people think and speak. Don’t use hurtful or derogatory language.

4. Educate others

Find opportunities to pass on facts and positive attitudes. If your friends, family, co-workers or even the media present information that is not true, challenge their myths and stereotypes. Let them know how their negative words and incorrect descriptions affect people by keeping alive the false ideas.

5. Focus on the positive

Everyone can  make valuable contributions to society. We’ve all heard the negative stories. Let’s recognize and applaud the positive ones.

6. Support people

Treat all people with dignity and respect. Think about how you’d like others to act toward you if you were in the same situation.

7. Include everyone

NEW JERSEY LAW AGAINST DISCRIMINATION (LAD): The LAD prohibits unlawful employment discrimination based on an individual's race, creed, color, national origin, nationality, ancestry, age, sex (including pregnancy), familial status, marital/civil union status, religion, domestic partnership status, affectional or sexual orientation, gender identity and expression, atypical hereditary cellular or blood trait, genetic information, liability for military service, and mental or physical disability (including perceived disability, and AIDS and HIV status). Everyone has a right to take an equal part in society.

 Let’s make sure that happens.