A chronicle of the formation of the task force, as well as planned events.


  • May 22 – Met with Mayor Richard LaBarbiera to describe initiative to make Paramus a Stigma-Free Zone and secured his support.
  • June 13 – First meeting of the Paramus Stigma Free Task Force took place.
  • July 23 – The Paramus Mayor & Council passed a Resolution declaring Paramus to be the nation’s second and Bergen County’s first “Stigma-Free Zone.
  • July 25 – Work began on project, social media outlets, and website.  Flyer with our signature logo created. Facebook page:  Paramus NJ Stigma-Free Zone.
  • July 27 – Display created in Paramus Public Library featured books on mental health/illness.
  • August 6 – Chief Ehrenberg arranged for us to have a table at National Night out event.  This was our first community event opportunity and response was very positive.
  • August 27 – Mary Ann Uzzi was interviewed live by phone by Channel 12 News about our initiative.  Channel 12 has requested follow-up ½ hour studio feature as project moves forward.
  • September 19 – Raymour & Flanagan became first business in Paramus to promote the Stigma-Free Zone project at its Community Health & Wellness event at the store.
  •  September 23 – Paramus Board of Education designates Paramus Schools as Stigma-Free Zones.
  • September 24 – Paramus Mayor & Council declares October 6 to 13 as Mental Health Awareness Week in Paramus and calls on the community to recommit to increasing awareness and understanding of mental health.
  • Oct. 1 – Met with Care Plus Partial Care clients to discuss the project and get their input. They have written their first “letter” to the community sharing their perspective on stigma. We will post on our Facebook page.
  • Oct. 6 – The first meeting of the dance professionals took place.  Led by Jennifer & Tony Landa, the group consists of dance teachers from PHS, Paramus Catholic HS, BCC, Maryann’s School of Dance, & Center Stage Dance Studio.  We estimate that 100 to 120 dancers will do a dance performance on Jan. 25, 2014 at Paramus Park Mall to call attention to our project. Interact students from PHS will be on hand to distribute materials to shoppers. All students participating will also be learning about mental health/illness throughout the process.
  • Oct. 6/13 – Notice of Mental Health Awareness week to run on town digital calendar on corner of Midland Ave/Farview Ave.
  • Oct. 9 – Presentation to Municipal Alliance to request funding for lawn signs. They have pledged to fund up to $1,500 for the signs.
  • Oct. 14 – Thanks to Care Plus NJ, we did our first training on mental health first aid basics for 30 Paramus Public School personnel.
  • Oct. 15 – Again, thanks to Care Plus, two community members took part in a mental health training course:  Suicide Awareness.  Joe Traina from PHS and Bob Scheper, EMS Chief,  attended.
  • Oct. 16 – Information on the Stigma-Free Zone project was distributed at Bergen Community College’s Wellness Fair.
  • Oct. 23 – Our initiative was presented by Joe Masciandaro of Care Plus at a forum in New Brunswick celebrating the 50th anniversary of President Kennedy’s Community Mental Health Act.
  • Oct. 27 – Task Force members took part in the Out of Darkness Community Walk in Saddle Brook.  This walk was to support American Foundation for Suicide Prevention.
  • Oct. 29 – We sent a representative to the Bergen Recovery Grass Roots Movement meeting where our initiative was shared & ways to work together were discussed.
  • Nov. 4 – Met with Sam Cassiello, head of Paramus Veterans Outreach program to discuss how we can involve Veterans & their families.
  • Nov. 7 – Presentation at Paramus Rotary.
  • Nov. 11 – Flyers distributed at Veterans Day ceremony.
  • Nov. 14 – One of our posters was requested  by Shari Goldfarb, a member of NAMI-NYC who wants to display it with a collection of other anti-stigma posters at the NAMI-NYC Metro’s Annual Gala. She saw our poster at Biagio’s Restaurant & contacted us via a member of Bergen Leads, Nilufer DeScherer.
  • Nov. 14 – Fred Rohdieck shared our presentation in the Paramus Rotary Radian newsletter that is sent to each member as well as the Rotary District, their website and Facebook.
  • Nov. 15 – Presentation at Special Services Department Meeting at Paramus HS. Head of Guidance announced that they sent our flyer to every student in the high school via email.
  • Nov.  20 – Our first lawn signs are put up at Borough Hall, Police Dept., Human Services, Paramus Main Library, Paramus High School, Board of Education Office. Lawn sign blitz around town to follow.
  •  Nov. 25 – Launch date for our website:  www.paramusstigmafree.org.


  • Jan. 25 – Dance performance at Paramus Park.
  • Feb. – The Stigma-Free Zone initiative will be featured in a full page in the Paramus Community School brochure that is delivered to every home in Paramus & surrounding towns.
  • May 8 – Town Hall Forum proposed.
  • May 28 – Paramus Stigma-Free Zone Task Force will be honored by the Care Plus Foundation at their Annual Courage Awards Gala at The Venetian.


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