Felician Becomes a Stigma-Free Zone

Felician University proudly joined the mental health stigma-free movement at a kick-off event held on its Rutherford campus. The event was fittingly held in May, as May is designated as mental health awareness month.

Featured speakers were former Governor and current State Senator Richard Codey, Bergen County Executive James Tedesco, Rutherford Councilwoman Dr. Stephanie McGowan and East Rutherford Mayor James Cassella. They shared the painful stories of family members or friends who have suffered with mental illness and the stigma that goes along with it. In addition, Alexandra Frontin, a Bergen Community College student, recounted her personal journey dealing with depression and anxiety.

“This day is the start of a new initiative here at Felician,” said Sharon McNulty, director of Counseling Services. “We are committed to all students suffering with mental illness to be free to seek help without fear of judgment.”

The Stigma-Free movement is the brainchild of The Codey Fund for Mental Health, established in 2012 by Governor Richard Codey and his wife Mary Jo. The program aims to eliminate the stigma and discrimination associated with mental health illness–the biggest barrier between the people suffering with mental health disorders and the treatment that can change their lives. Felician is the eighth New Jersey university to be designated as a stigma-free zone.