Although mental illness is a disease of the mind, society fosters an environment that labels individuals with mental disorders as inferior and subordinate. Franklin Lakes 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. Click here to view the resolution adopted by Franklin Lakes Mayor and Council.

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. Franklin Lakes is determined to break down these barriers and work towards fostering an environment that supports residents with mental disorders. 

What is Stigma?

Video from Bring Change 2 Mind
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