Women’s Fund of Central Indiana convenes nine cities, 46 college campuses and more to announce mental health partnership

Women’s fund brings campaign to Change direction to Indiana to normalize the conversation around mental health

This morning at a press event on Monument Circle, Women’s Fund of Central Indiana, a special interest fund of Central Indiana Community Foundation, announced that it has convened community partners to join the national Campaign to Change Direction on mental health. Nine cities, 46 college campuses, plus hospitals, health departments, chambers, foundations and businesses have pledged to advocate for open, honest conversation about mental health in Central Indiana.

In 2015, more Hoosiers died by suicide than by car accidents. And according to Mental Health America, in Indiana, 20 percent of Hoosier adults live with mental illness and 12 percent of youth have had at least one depressive episode in the past year.

“We also know that depression is twice as common in women as men. By removing barriers to good mental health for the Central Indiana community, we are fulfilling our mission to create more options and opportunities for women and girls, as well as their families.”

Jennifer Pope Baker, executive director of Women’s Fund

Central Indiana Campaign to Change Direction partners include the nine cities of Indianapolis, Carmel, Crawfordsville, Fishers, Greenfield, Noblesville, Shelbyville, Westfield and Zionsville; local universities, including Butler University, DePauw University, Indiana University, IUPUI, Ivy Tech, Marian University, Martin University, Purdue University and University of Indianapolis; Central Indiana Community Foundation and its affiliates, The Indianapolis Foundation and Legacy Fund; Indy Public Safety Foundation; Indiana Family and Social Services Administration; the Division of Mental Health and Addiction; Marion County Public Health Department; Community Health Network, Eskenazi Health and Riverview Health; Eli Lilly and Company; and the Alpha Mu Omega chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc., a historically black sorority and the second largest professional women’s association in the Indianapolis.

As a first step in the campaign, partners will work to help ensure that every Central Indiana resident knows how to recognize and respond to the five signs of emotional suffering within five years. The signs that someone is in emotional pain and might need help include personality change, agitation, withdrawal, poor self-care and hopelessness. People who recognize these signs, should show compassion, empathy and a willingness to find a solution when the affected person may not have the will or drive to help herself.

Community partners are also developing their own plans:

Indianapolis is working to implement Mayor Joe Hogsett’s Criminal Justice Reform plan to divert those suffering from poor mental health and addiction from the criminal justice system and instead, connect them with treatment and wraparound services. Mayor Hogsett has proclaimed May 31, 2017, as Change Mental Health Day and is encouraging all 850,000 residents to learn the five signs that may indicate someone is in emotional pain.

Fishers plans to reach its 87,887 residents at community events and beyond. Mayor Scott Fadness and city leaders have already begun implementing a detailed strategic plan that includes an education program for Fishers police and fire departments, a partnership with Hamilton Southeastern Schools and public education through a Stigma Free Fishers at community events. Mayor Fadness has also proclaimed May 31 Campaign to Change Mental Health Day.

Carmel kicked off Campaign to Change Direction on May 26 at its annual Memorial Day Ceremony, where 250 local veterans and senior citizens received information about the five signs of emotional suffering and what to do if you recognize them. Mayor Jim Brainard has also proclaimed May 31 Campaign to Change Mental Health Day.

Alpha Mu Omega chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. will expand its current initiative that raises awareness of mental illness among diverse populations with low utilization and access to mental health services.  Each year, the organization hosts several events and seminars on mental illness in the Indianapolis community and the five signs of emotional suffering will be incorporated. Their goal is to impact 1,000 people per year for the next five years.

Martin University is working with organizations and members of the Martindale-Brightwood community to develop the Martindale-Brightwood Education Zone. The zone’s five initiatives include connecting the residents of the Martindale-Brightwood community and Martin’s 400 students with mental wellness services through a network of partnerships, including a proposed new mental wellness facility and other community-based resources, including creating a heightened sense of awareness of the five signs of emotional suffering.

Ivy Tech Community College is committed to sharing the five signs of emotional suffering and raising awareness of mental health to its 110,00 students and 8,000 employees statewide.

For a list of mental health resources and more information about how Women’s Fund and its partners are changing direction on mental health, visit here.

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