Fishers, IN – Mayor Scott Fadness, together with stakeholders from the City, Community Health Network and Hamilton Southeastern Schools, announced the Mental Health Task Force’s Report to the Community today. The report is the culmination of the task force’s monthly exploratory meetings, and rolls-out recommendations with measurable goals for the community moving forward.
“I have been humbled by this process and the things we’ve learned during our exploration,” said Mayor Fadness. “The recommendations in the report will require continued collaboration and diligence as our community tackles these mental health challenges. I am confident that today is a great start, but there is still much to do.”
At the 2015 State of the City, Mayor Fadness announced the formation of the Mental Health Task Force to learn more about the state of mental health in Fishers. Members include City officials, public safety personnel, City Councilors, Community Health Network, Hamilton Southeastern Schools, Mike Reikoff from the Peyton Reikoff Foundation for Hope and area members of the clergy, and the task force chairperson is Suzanne Clifford, Senior Vice President of Integrated Primary Care for Community Health Network. That task force met monthly from January to July to discuss a variety of topics in hopes of taking a comprehensive look at mental health challenges. Key objectives and recommendations emerged as the task force explored the current state of mental health, barriers to access and gaps in service.
“This kind of community collaboration is not the norm and has been inspiring to be a part of,” said Suzanne Clifford. “The recommendations within this report can bring about real change in Fishers and help people get access to resources that will give them hope and promote their recovery. Mental health is an uncomfortable topic to discuss and I commend the task force for their efforts.”
The task force will move forward with six recommendations surrounding education and training and two recommendations for resources and access. A few highlighted recommendations include:
• Expand crisis intervention training (CIT) to additional public safety personnel
• Develop a comprehensive plan for HSE schools
• Develop a youth training plan for public safety departments
• Remodel WeCare Community Paramedicine program to address mental health
“With more than a quarter of Fishers residents in school at Hamilton Southeastern Schools, it was important for us to have a seat at the table when addressing the state of mental health in the community,” said HSE Superintendent Dr. Allen Bourff. “A proactive approach to mental health care in our school system protects our children now and our community as they age. We have an opportunity to be a leader in this effort in a way that positively impacts generations of Fishers residents.”
“Moving forward, the task force will meet on a quarterly basis to follow-up on recommended action items and keep us accountable for reaching our measurable goals,” said Mayor Fadness.
The Mental Health Task Force will continue to work on the report’s recommendations and will report back to the community via an “Annual Check-up” each year. The community is encouraged to download the report, get informed and get involved.
“So many times during our monthly meetings we discussed the stigma surrounding mental health,” said John Weingardt, City Council Vice President. “It is important for people to be comfortable sharing their stories, because you never know whom it might inspire to get help. As a City Councilor, I want to see a healthy community that works together to fight hard challenges, but as a resident, personally affected by the mental illness of a family member, I want people to know that there is hope and resources. If we help just one person, this is already a success.”