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Caldwell, N.J., March 2, 2016 – Caldwell University is being honored by the New Jersey Governor’s Council on Mental Health Stigma with a 2016 Ambassador Award.

A Catholic Dominican university, Caldwell is being recognized for outstanding service in providing effective support services and programs that reduce the ways in which society stigmatizes people with mental illness. The Council will celebrate individuals and groups associated with houses of worship and faith-based or religious institutions for their work in this area at a ceremony on April 21.

Caldwell’s President Nancy Blattner says the university is grateful for the recognition and dedicated to removing any barriers or stigma that would prevent a student from seeking the help he or she might need. “In the same way that we are committed to our students’ thriving academically, we want them to understand that caring for their mental health is a positive and life-enhancing activity.”

Caldwell University became New Jersey’s first stigma-free campus for mental health last October. The stigma-free initiative is sponsored by the Codey Fund for Mental Health and was founded by former governor Richard Codey and his wife Mary Jo Codey, a Caldwell alumna.

The university has several other programs dedicated to mental health. The Wellness Center combines the Counseling, Health Services and Campus Ministry offices; the Counseling Department collaborates annually with the Mental Health Association of Essex County to hold an annual mood checkup/depression screening event and the Psychology and Counseling Department runs the Helpline Center in partnership with the National Suicide Prevention Hotline where Caldwell graduate students volunteer and gain professional experience. In 2015 the university received a $24,076 grant from the Partners for Health Foundation for a technology upgrade for the Center to enable an increase in the number of student volunteers.

Caldwell offers a graduate program in Mental Health Counseling with Art Therapy specialization, the first and only program of this type in the nation to receive accreditation from CACREP, the Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs.
In December, Caldwell learned it had been awarded a grant of $125,000 from the George I. Alden Trust to use towards construction of new art therapy classrooms and faculty office space.