Stigma Free 2024

Stigma Free Symposium
Posted on 05/22/2024
Stigma Free Symposium
Krystal Mason, a Senior, and Natalie Portnoy, a Junior, have been members of the Wyckoff Stigma Free Initiative for the past two years.  In addition to being members, they have spearheaded individual efforts to support mental health issues among the teen population.  
Krystal and Natalie spoke at the May 1, 2024 Bergen County Stigma Free Symposium in Paramus, NJ.  
Here is a synopsis of what they shared with approximately 300 attendees.  
Krystal and Natalie were both selected to participate in Mental Health America and IDONTMIND’s “Our Future in Mind” conference where they learned how to make a difference in their communities regarding mental health advocacy and policy. Through this extensive training program, they learned the advocacy skills needed to make a concrete difference in their community, met leaders from the state/surrounding states, and built relationships with other young individuals that hope to also make a difference in their own communities. Upon completion of this program, they were deemed ‘Certified National Youth Advocates’. 
From here, Krystal became heavily involved in a national funding campaign with other mental health youth advocates from around the country. The ultimate goal of this project is to seek access to more substantial funding for youth-led mental health initiatives.
Natalie went on to spearhead "Solidarity" a passion project dedicated to bracelet making for visual allyship and "Circle For Support," a mental health promotion box service for children at West Bergen Medical Center.  

Both received Commendations from The Bergen County Board of County Commissioners and the Bergen County Executive Joseph J. Tedesco III. 
They have been active participants in advocacy for youth mental health issues and awareness.