Stigma-free week: Fishers launches inaugural mental health week


Suzanne Clifford discusses mental health issues.

By Anna Skinner

Following National Mental Health Awareness Month in May, and preceding Suicide Prevention Month in September, the City of Fishers has created its own initiative – inviting the public to various events during the inaugural Mental Health Week. The new initiative kicks off Aug. 2 and continues through Aug. 12.

“We are in Phase II of the whole mental health initiative, and Phase II is about bringing down the stigma around mental health,” Fishers Mayor Scott Fadness said. “We are now in the cultural side of it. How do we create a community that is OK having discussions about mental health? We are making a decided and intentional effort to keep the struggles of mental health on the forefront, Mental Health Week being one of those exercises. (The week) is primarily focused around school being back in session as a catalyst for that conversation.”

Fishers Fire Dept. Chief Steve Orusa said last year there were 11 suicides in Fishers, along with 39 attempted suicides and 189 immediate detentions. Fadness said the goal is for suicides to go down, which might make immediate detentions rise.

“In order to reduce the number of suicides that occur, there’s a good chance the number of IDs occurring in the community might actually go up,” Fadness said. “If we are doing our job right, we will spot people in those emergency situations that need to get to resources. It would reduce suicide and, in return, increase immediate detention.”

Orusa said he would like the community to be at a point where residents are as knowledgeable on what to do in a mental health crisis, as they would be if someone was experiencing a heart attack.

“We want to arm people with tools so they can help that person and get them the services that they need,” he said. “We want it to be as common as someone knowing CPR.”

Fadness said that despite the onslaught of upcoming mental health awareness events, the city has more planned.

“I want people to be aware of the fact this will be an ongoing, systemic approach,” he said. “This isn’t going to be we will do this one week and call it a win. There will be things throughout the course of next year, and further, where we continue to bring (mental health) to the forefront of residents’ minds.”

Phase III would share what the city’s learned and educate other communities on the state of mental health awareness and becoming stigma-free.  Although not yet implemented, Phase III could happen alongside Phase II.


In 2016, there were:

  • 11 suicides in Fishers
  • 39 attempted suicides
  • 189 immediate detentions

*Source: Fishers Fire Department

From left, Mayor Scott Fadness, Anna Harris, Tony Elliot, HSE Schools Mental Health Coordinator Brooke Lawson, Deputy Mayor Leah McGrath, HSE Supt. Allan Bourff, FFD Chief Steve Orusa, Inspiring Transformations CEO Suzanne Clifford and PR Director Ashley Elrod work together to plan Fishers Mental Health Week.

Mental Health Week Calendar of Events

A full description of each event is available at Hamilton Southeastern Back-to-School nights, times and dates vary, will have Community Health Network booths available to learn more about the district’s mental health therapist. For a full list of back-to-school events, visit

  • Interfaith prayer gathering – 7 p.m. Aug. 2 at Nickel Plate District Amphitheatre, 6 Municipal Dr.
  • Tuesday Night Concert featuring intermission guest Mike Riekhof – 7 p.m. Aug. 8 at Nickel Plate District Amphitheatre, 6 Municipal Dr.
  • Peyton Riekhof Foundation for Youth Hope Dineout for Mental Health – Active all day Aug. 9 at City BBQ, 9367 Ambleside Dr. Active from 3:30-9:30 p.m. at Handel’s Ice Cream, 8760 E. 116th St.
  • Peyton Riekhof Foundation for Youth Hope Dineout for Mental Health – Active all day Aug. 10 at Stone Creek, 13904 Town Center Blvd., Noblesville.
  • Stigma Free HSE’s Hope for Happiness Celebration – 6-9 p.m. Aug. 11 at central green, 1 Municipal Dr.
  • AMP After Dark – 9 p.m. Aug. 11 at Nickel Plate District Amphitheatre, 6 Municipal Dr.
  • Fishers Unplugged Weekend in the Parks – Aug. 12.
  • Community Movie Night, “Inside Out” – Dusk, Aug. 12 at Nickel Plate District Amphitheatre, 6 Municipal Dr.

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