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Fishers EMS sees rare 1-day rise in mental health calls

Fishers, Indiana, sees abnormal increase in mental health EMS calls

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — Seven out of 10 Fishers ambulance runs on Tuesday were mental health-related.

That’s according to a tweet Thursday morning from Fishers Mayor Scott Fadness.

Fishers Fire Department and the Emergency Medical Services division say the statistic is rare.

Out of their total calls, 80% are for medical services and a small percentage are for mental health.

“In Fishers, last year, we had 410 behavioral health responses,” said John Mehling, the fire department’s public information officer, “which is about 10% of our EMS runs.”

The fire department says 10% is around the national average for EMS runs related to mental health issues. As for the demographic, the department says, there’s no one group of people experiencing more issues.

“The predominant number of behavioral issues we had for 2019 was over the age of 19,” Mehling said. “But unfortunately, it’s all ages.”

The department says it doesn’t have a way to cut down on the calls that come in. They can, however, be prepared for when someone calls for help.

“These firefighters have special training in which they respond out to these incidents,” Mehling said. “They create a relationship with these patients so that if we respond again, we already have that relationship. And a lot of times, we can de-escalate a situation just by having that previous contact.”

The department says it is completely fine with people calling 911 if they’re going through a mental health episode. They say if you need the help, they want to be someone you can trust.

“We acknowledge that there are mental health issues and we want to open the curtains on this,” Mehling said. “Friends, neighbors, family members, all are affected by this. It doesn’t matter how much money you make, how much money you don’t make, what job you’re in, mental health affects all of us. And we want to make sure we’re part of the solution and we’re not just trying to cover up a problem.”

The U.S. Department of Health & Human Services offers resources on mental health online.