MARGATE – Jewish Family Service of Atlantic & Cape May Counties has joined the Stigma Free Atlantic Collaborative countywide program which aims to raise awareness and reduce negative beliefs associated with mental health and substance use disorders. The initiative hopes to create a culture where people feel supported by their community and seek treatment for disorders without fear of judgement.

“JFS is committed to providing outstanding services to those experiencing mental health disorders across the agency’s programming,” JFS CEO Andrea Steinberg said. “JFS recognizes the impact of stigma when seeking services and has to remove that barrier to achieve wellness.”

With 135 direct service staff members who recognize clients as more than someone with a mental illness, staff provide programs and services to help people affected confidently integrate into the community. In 2022, JFS provided 312 initial sessions to begin counseling, and performed a total of 8,076 telehealth and in-person counseling or therapy sessions, as well as numerous case management meetings.

“Many people feel reduced to the label of their mental health diagnosis and the careless language others use to describe them. JFS case managers educate community members about stigmatizing language and advocate for those with a mental health diagnosis to have equitable access to housing, jobs, healthcare and other resources,” said Samantha McManus, JFS Associate Director of Intake and JFS Stop the Stigma Campaign Representative.

In addition to assisting clients, JFS provides a stigma-free workplace to create an environment in which staff may seek treatment without the fear of being stigmatized.

With JFS working cohesively with the county, businesses and other organizations to end the stigma, staff signed a pledge to show their support. The posters are on display at each JFS office – Atlantic City, Atlantic Homeless Alliance, Atrium, Cape May, and Margate – and agency attended vendor expos.

For more information on the Stigma Free Atlantic Collaborative program, contact For information on JFS programs and services, visit

Nanette LoBiondo Galloway

Award winning journalist covering news, events and people of Atlantic County for more than 20 years.