NJ Governor’s Council on Mental Health Stigma Ambassador Awards


The New Jersey Governor’s Council on Mental Health Stigma 2018 Ambassador Awards Ceremony was successfully held on April 19 in Ramada Plaza of Jamesburg. This year’s award recipients, ten school-based professionals and school districts, shared their inspiring personal stories and exemplary work in their own school communities to raise mental health awareness and empower students to seek help for their mental health needs. A panel discussion on school based mental health initiatives was led by Amy B. Spagnolo, PhD, Rutgers University, Program Director, Master of Science in Psychiatric Rehabilitation Leadership Track; panelists included Jill Welch, Hawkins School and Newark School Social Worker, Jennifer Walters, John Witherspoon Middle School, Princeton Middle School Counselor, and Shondelle C. Wills-Bryce, MSW, Director, Office of School Linked Services, NJ Department of Children and Families, Division of Family and Community Partnerships.

View the Photo Album


NJTV’s coverage


The Ambassador Award embodies the Council’s philosophy of Respect. Understanding. Change.

The 2018 Ambassador Awards honor the people, institutions and endeavors whose work best exemplify how communities encourage understanding and acceptance of adults and children whose lives are affected by mental illness. This year, the New Jersey Governor’s Council on Mental Health Stigma recognizes individual teachers, educational administrators and professional staff; public, private, charter and religious schools; educational programs and school organizations that have provided effective supports, services or programs that reduce the ways in which society stigmatizes people with mental illnesses.

“Honoring School Based Professionals”
Award Recipients

Lawrence P. Booth
East Mountain School Teacher and  Department Coordinator for I.R.T.S & P.C.H

Danielle Cooper, MPH
Manager, School Health Leadership Program, New Jersey Collaborating Center for Nursing

Barbara A. Correnti
Director of Student Personnel Services, Belleville School District K-12

Kerry DiGiacinto
Director of Special Services, Mountain Lakes Public School District

JoAnne Kleine
Student Assistant Coordinator, Gateway Regional High School

Dr. Rebecca McLelland-Crawley
Gifted and Talented Teacher Resource Specialist, West Windsor-Plainsboro School District

Meryl Orlando
Family and Consumer Science Teacher, South Brunswick High School

Pascack Valley High School
Hillsdale, New Jersey

Pathways School Based Youth Services Program
Carteret High School

Ramsey School District
Ramsey, New Jersey


The New Jersey Governor’s Council on Mental Health Stigma honored law enforcement professionals at the 2017 Ambassador Awards Ceremony on April 20, 2017. NAMI NJ congratulates those professionals who have provided effective supports, services or programs that reduce the ways in which society stigmatizes people with mental illnesses.

2017 Ambassador Award Winners
Honoring Law Enforcement Professionals

Sean F. Dalton – Gloucester County Prosecutor
Lieutenant Richard E. Cavanaugh – Montclair Police Department
Chief Douglas Scheer – Rockaway Borough Police Department
Stafford Township Police Department
Patrol Officer Jarrod D. Broadway – Burlington Township Police Department
Edward C. Dobleman, Director, State CIT-NJ Center for Excellence

“Honorable Mention Recognitions”
Michael Allora – Deputy Fire Chief, Clifton NJ Fire Department
Andrew Carey – Middlesex County Prosecutor


View Photos of the Ceremony.

At the 2016 New Jersey Governor’s Council On Mental Health Stigma Ambassador Awards Ceremony, Ambassador Award Winners who have Demonstrated Exemplary Accomplishments were recognized.


View Photos of the Ceremony.

2016 Ambassador Award Winners
Honoring the Faith Community

Reverend Adele Hatfield
First Baptist Church of Lincoln Gardens
Central Unitarian Church
Caldwell University
Rabbi Lawrence Sernovitz
Christ Church
Bishop Phillip M. Bonaparte, M.D.
First Unitarian Society of Plainfield
Patricia Greeley
Pastor Simeon Spencer


The Governor’s Council on Mental Health Stigma honored people in the arts on April 30, 2015 for their efforts to raise awareness about mental illness and dispel the myths surrounding it. NAMI New Jersey congratulations all recipients of the 2015 Ambassador Awards and we are proud that our own Jacquese Armstrong, Jay Yudof and Latha John receive their well-deserved honor!

“Reducing Stigma Through The Arts: Promoting Wellness and Recovery” Ambassador Award Recipients:

Jacquese A. Armstrong
Jay Yudof
CavanKerry Press
Latha John – A Space on Main
Valerie Fox
Stigma-Free Dancers
Rhonda Richardsen
Ocean County Mental Health Awareness Committee
STYGMA – Music Band

PRESS RELEASE by the Office of Public Affairs, NJ Department of Human Services: 

Governor’s Council Honors Artists for Battling Mental Health Stigma



View Photos of the Ceremony.


The NJ Governor’s Council on Mental Health Stigma honored members of the media with 2014 Mental Health Ambassador Awards on May 1, 2014.  A number of award winners had been nominated by NAMI New Jersey.

“Honoring Excellence in Media Coverage” Ambassador Award Recipients:

Christopher DePatria, VP of Revenue, Signpost Inc.
Steve Adubato, Ph.D., Emmy Award-winning Anchor-Thirteen/WNET (PBS)
David Matthau, Radio News Reporter, 101.5-FM Radio
Paul Grzella-General Editor/Manager, Courier News-Somerset Cty, Home News Tribune-Middlesex Cty.
Sunita Sohrabji-Staff Reporter, India-West
Jessica D’Amico, Managing Editor, Greater Media Newspapers
Sino Monthly New Jersey – Ivy Lee, Editor-in-Chief and Founder
Michael Skinner-Writer and Editor, Surviving Spirit
Larry Cartwright-Radio Host, Mental Health Matters
Kelly Ebbels-Community Editor, The Montclair Times
Euna Kwon Brossman-Columnist, Attitudes in Reverse
NJNTV News-John Servidio-Vice President, Subsidiary Stations WNET, General Manager, NJTV