Nolan (not his real name) was feeling isolated and alone. Not unusual for a student transitioning to college life. But in the midst of a pandemic, those feelings were intensified and created a sense of anxiety. He wasn’t sleeping well and depression was setting in. Thankfully, Nolan shared how he was feeling with his family, and they worked to get him help.
For Nolan, that first step was reaching out to Fishers Cares, a simple, free starting point for those seeking help with their mental health. That’s how Nolan and I got connected. He set an online appointment and we spent about an hour together. Most of our time was spent with Nolan sharing his story and me asking questions like “What are you experiencing?” and “Have you experienced this in the past?”
The discussion eventually transitioned to resources and potential solutions. I asked more questions, like “What has worked in the past when you felt this way?” and “What people and resources are you aware of?”
Nolan was able to come up with several ideas that might help him feel better and was aware of mental health resources in his life, including a free counseling service offered by his university and talking with his medical doctor. What Nolan needed was a listening ear to help him process his experience and a guide to help him formulate a plan for next steps. He also needed to know that he’s not alone in this.
When we’re stuck emotionally, we typically don’t think as clearly. Next steps are hard to take. When we’re able to share with another person and realize we’re not alone in the struggle, some of the emotional weight comes off and we’re ready to take another step toward a hopeful future.
“Fishers Cares is a demonstration of the compassion and energy of the community to support those impacted by mental illness,” said Fishers City Councilman Todd Zimmerman. “Bringing together a diverse group of faith leaders to combat stigma and provide a real solution that makes a statement to every person in Fishers: ‘It’s ok to not be ok and we’re here to stand with you.’”
Fishers Cares is a practical way to do that. It’s not a counseling service, but a first step toward help. When you feel something isn’t quite right and you need to start a confidential conversation with a trained caregiver, Fishers Cares is a great place to start. You can simply schedule either a virtual appointment or an in-person appointment here.
Most of us experience a season of struggle similar to Nolan’s at some point in our lives. During the past year, I’ve experienced many of these symptoms myself. And talking with a trusted friend or a trained caregiver has helped to remind me that I’m not alone and to take the steps that I need to take. It’s also made me thankful that I live in a community where it’s safe to be honest about how I’m doing and where we’re working together to care for one another.
Learn more about Fishers’ mental health initiative at StigmaFreeFishers.com. You can also find a list of mental health resources here.
Kevin Roth is the Campus Pastor at Grace Church – Fishers and helped to create the Fishers Cares initiative with several other faith leaders and the Fishers YMCA. He has been a Fishers resident since 1994. His favorite things to do in Fishers include exploring the great parks and enjoying local restaurants, as well as cycling, reading, and roasting coffee. His favorite aspect of Fishers is that it’s an amazing community that still feels like a small town. He and his wife, Suzy, have been married for 26 years and have four kids. Follow him on Instagram.
Fishers Cares is a collaborative program spanning several inter-faith places of worship and businesses across the community intended to provide a safe space for individuals to meet with an evidence-based trained individual to receive support and referrals for stress, anxiety, or other mental illness.