Stigma-Free Bridging the Pond

UK First Responder Inspired by Bergen County Initiative

Media Invited To Attend 

A two part program designed to share best practices while providing tips on building resiliency and a culture of mental health for first responders.

Friday, August 31, 2018
8:00 a.m. • First Responder Breakfast
11:00 a.m. • Stigma-Free Roundtable & Luncheon

230 East Ridgewood Avenue
Paramus, NJ 07652

Donnalee Corrieri at

(PARAMUS, NJ – July 19, 2018) – First responders and stigma-free members are invited to attend “Stigma-Free Bridging the Pond”, a two part program is being at New Bridge Medical Center in Paramus on Friday, August 31. In an effort to officially bring the Stigma-Free initiative to the United Kingdom, the day’s events will start with a First Responder Breakfast from 8 a.m.-10 a.m., and conclude with a Stigma-Free Roundtable and Luncheon from 11 a.m.-1 p.m.

This event was inspired by international visitor, Dan Farnworth. Farnworth is a Sir Winston Churchill Fellowship Winner, a member of England’s Emergency Medical Service and a leader in “Our Blue Light”,a charity organization in England and Wales that aims to improve the mental health, well-being and working life of Emergency & Essential Services including: Police, Fire, Ambulance, Search & Rescue, Prison Service and the National Health Services. After discovering the abundance of resources available through the Stigma-Free Initiative–he decided to take action to strengthen the fight against stigma across the pond by studying the Paramus Stigma-Free Zone as a “best practice” in mental health.

“The theme of the day is ‘Stigma-Free Bridging the Pond,” explained Cynthia Chazen, Mental Health Editor and producer ofthe NJ Stigma-Free Newsletter. “It speaks to this amazing international opportunity, but also what we are doing in our communities – creating bridges that help to connect individuals to support that they need.”

In addition to exploring the UK advocacy efforts of “Our Blue Light” with Farnworth, the First Responder Breakfast will include remarks from James J. Tedesco III, County Executive of Bergen, and leader in the Stigma-Free Initiative.

The County Executive was not only integral in bringing this initiative to Paramus five years ago,” commented Mary Ann Uzzi, Paramus Stigma-Free founder and community mental health advocate. “He also committed to making all of Bergen County a stigma-free zone, and we have seen the effect of that promise. Without his support and passionate advocacy, the ripples of our efforts never would have made it across the pond!”  

The morning will also feature an overview of Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) therapy, offered by Dr. Maria G Masciandaro, PsyD. Maria is a psychologist who specializes in the effects of trauma, and works with the Trauma Recovery Humanitarian Association Program to train therapists who help first responders across the country. EMDR utilizes protocols geared for individuals or groups these specialized clinicians help to build resilience and foster post traumatic growth.

The second part of the day features a luncheon with roundtable discussions, meant for stigma-free leaders to come together to share their ideas, successes and challenges that they have faced in bringing the Stigma-Free Initiative to fruition. The purpose of this portion of the day is to brainstorm and provide insight on the best way to implement the initiative in the United Kingdom.

“We are thrilled to have Dan travel from the UK to share best practices,” said Uzzi. “We thank Care Plus NJ, Inc., and New Bridge Medical Center, both resources have been instrumental in the Stigma-Free Initiate since inception and continue to support us through events like this and so much more.”

This forum is sponsored by the Paramus Stigma-Free Task Force, in collaboration with New Bridge Medical Center and Care Plus NJ, Inc., also in celebration of the five year anniversary of the Paramus Stigma-Free Zone.

Organizations and individuals who are interested attending the event can contact Donnalee Corrieri at for more information and to register.

For press information contact:

Donnalee Corrieri




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