American Foundation for Suicide Prevention Indiana Chapter
May 2012Vol 1, Issue 1
Ball State Campus Walk 2012
 Ball State Campus Walk 2012
Breaking the Silence
AFSP Indiana Newsletter
The Campus Walks in Indiana are well underway, with the students and walk leaders of each event making a difference in their schools and communities. We have 3 walks left for Spring 2012, to preregister for one of these events, click the highlighted links below:

The Columbus Indiana Campus Walk Team won an award (in February 2012) for being the 3rd largest campus walk in the country in 2011, raising $18,800
Columbus 2011 Award

THANK YOU to the 5 Campus Walk Coordinators that have already had their events this spring and the participants that came out, rain or shine ~ Well done to all of you!
Remember- you can still continue to post donations to your personal fundraising goal until June 30th, 2012.
Diana Kerrigan (Ivy Tech Logansport) - raised $4615
Vanessa Carroll (Purdue U. North Central) - raised $4350
Jen Campos (IUPUI) - raised $1075
Chloe Brattain (Ball State University) - raised $3212
Amber Sapp (Butler University) - raised $4895
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JUNE 9th, 2012 marks the 3rd annual "Ride to Silence the Stigma".  We will start and end at Harley Davidson of Indianapolis located at 4146 East 96th Street on the Northside of Indianapolis.  Registration is 9:30 to 10:30.  Kickstands UP shortly after a brief opening at 10:30.  
$25 per bike
Preregister online by CLICKING HERE

Join us for a scenic ride, coffee and doughnuts in the morning provided by HD of INDY, Prizes, HD of INDY will be hosting a cookout following the ride!  

Ride in MEMORY of a loved one lost by suicide, Ride in HOPE for those living with depression, Ride in SUPPORT of survivors of suicide loss and those who struggle daily with depression...
Help us raise awareness and much needed funds to silence the stigma of depressive illnesses and suicide.  

 Download the RIDE FLYER and help us spread the word.

May is Mental Health Awareness MONTH!

"Mental Health Awareness Month" began in 1949 to raise awareness of mental health conditions and mental wellness for all.  This year, The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP) is celebrating Mental Health Month by asking Field Advocates to call on President Obama to implement final regulations of the Paul Wellstone and Pete Domenici Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act (2008).

Article Link 

The Mental Health Parity and Addiction Act would ensure large group health insurance plans and Medicaid plans provide coverage for mental or substance-use disorders on par with coverage offered for physical ailments.  Implementation of the final rule would make mental health benefits a reality.


Field Advocates(Click here to become a Field Advocate and let your voice be heard) as well as anyone interested may participate in two ways:


First, AFSP is asking Field Advocates to submit a letter to the editor to your local newspapers.  A sample copy of a letter to the editor is below for your use.  All you have to do is submit it to your local paper! 


Second, AFSP is asking Field Advocates to email or call the White House to urge President Obama to implement the final Mental Health Parity rule.  You can contact the White House in one of two ways:


  1. Email the White House 24 hours a day, 7 days a week by visiting  After filling in the required information, under subject select "Health Care" under "I Have A Policy Comment" and post the message:

Dear President Obama,


In celebration of May as Mental Health Month, I am emailing in support of Mental Health Parity. The Mental Health Parity and Addiction Act would ensure that large group health insurance and Medicaid plans provide coverage for mental or substance-use disorders on par with coverage offered for physical ailments. I urge you to implement the final rule needed to make Mental Health Parity the law of the land.




Your Name



  1. Call the White House at 202-456-1111 Monday through Friday, 9am-5pm EDT (excluding holidays) to deliver the message via voicemail:

Hi my name is [Your Name], and I live in [City/State].  In celebration of May as Mental Health Month, I am calling in support of Mental Health Parity. The Mental Health Parity and Addiction Act would ensure that large group health insurance and Medicaid plans provide coverage for mental or substance-use disorders on par with coverage offered for physical ailments. I urge you to implement the final rule needed to make Mental Health Parity the law of the land.  Thank you.


In This Issue
Indiana Out of the Darkness Walks for 2012
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Survivor Spotlight ~ Lisa Downs
Noblesville Indiana


Who would have thought that training a man to be my boss would end up being one of the best things I've ever done in my life!?  Jim Pennington, my then peer to turn boss and I were the best of friends the moment we met in 1999.  We were inseparable and everyone thought we should be dating.  Well, we were both gay so that wasn't gonna happen!  However, everyone kept on us and said we'd make beautiful children.  That kept us laughing for years and I still laugh about it today.


Jim Pennington Jim Pennington


Driving down the 405 South in Los Angeles on July 17, 2007 my life took a change that I had never anticipated.  I was told that my Jim had hanged himself on July 14, 2007 (just 2 days after my birthday and 2 days before his partners' birthday).  He had erased me from his life so it took them 3 days to locate me.  I immediately went to OH MY GOD how could he do this to ME???  How DARE he do this to me!  I was so upset that I called his cell phone number and vented, cried, vented, cried and pleaded with him to have not done this.

While at work that day his partner Jamie called me after he heard my phone message.  He told me that Jim had been deteriorating for a year.  He had been hospitalized and they tried everything they could to save him.  He was diagnosed with Bipolar and in one year, he lost his job, his house and his dignity.  He was so depressed that the Jim I knew had vanished.  The last picture taken of him was horrific.  His eyes were dead.  His sparkle was gone.  I ... was devastated.


Three months after learning of his death I went to my first Out of the Darkness walk in Santa Monica, CA.  I met Mariette Hartley and the numerous volunteers that day and ever since then my life has been dedicated to Suicide Prevention and Education.  I served 2 years as the Secretary on the Los Angeles Board of Directors and in 2010, I was elected Chairman.  I have recently moved to Noblesville, IN to continue my work with the AFSP Indiana Chapter. I owe Jim a thank you for giving me the gift of this organization and my many, many friends and chosen family that I have met on this journey.  I miss him dearly but if something good had to come out of this tragedy, this was it.


 Lisa Downs

Lisa Downs


Welcome to Indiana Lisa!

A Great Addition to AFSP Indiana!


Lifeline - RED
Interested in being a Volunteer for AFSP Indiana Events? 
 We are always thrilled to have new people join the AFSP Indiana team of volunteers!  If you are interested in one particular event, helping with implentation of the educational materials around the state or just in your own community, or interested in bringing survivor support resources to your community- please let us know! Contact Lisa Brattain at 317.774.1377 or 
AFSP Research Update - Dr Jeffery Bridge
Dr Jeffery Bridge

Adolescents who make suicide attempts consider risks differently


As part of an AFSP grant, Dr. Bridge and his colleagues studied decision making in teenagers who have made a suicide attempt to see if they had trouble making decisions in risky or stressful situations.  He looked at how teens control their thoughts and behaviors, their levels of aggression and their tolerance for being provoked or frustrated.  He compared the levels of impulsivity, aggression, and impulsive aggression in suicide attempters and similar youth who were in the same treatment programs and had not made a suicide attempt.  The results were published in the April 2012 issue of the American Journal of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry.

The study participants included 40 adolescents aged 13 to 18 and who had recently made a suicide attempt and 40 adolescents of the same age, gender and race who had never made a suicide attempt.   He collected data on the Iowa Gambling Task (IGT) a computerized gambling task that simulates real-life decision making.  Participants also filled out questionnaires and were interviewed about their impulsiveness, aggression and their past and present psychiatric treatment.

Adolescents who had attempted suicide were less likely to learn how to maximize decision making in order to earn the most money when compared to the other psychiatrically ill adolescents. Group differences in mood disorders, psychiatric medications, impulsivity and hostility did not account for their poor choices. They found no relationship between the poor decision-making performance and any characteristics of the attempt such as time since last suicide attempt, number of previous attempts, intent to die or medical consequences of the attempt. Overall, the results support other research that suggests inflexible decision making may play a role in increasing risk for suicidal behavior.

Dr. Bridge has used the data from his study to secure a 5-year $2.1 million research grant from the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) entitled "Impulsive Aggression, Neurocognition, and Suicidal Behavior in Depressed Youth" that will start in July 2012. This work has the potential to help with the development of practical suicide risk evaluation tools, treatments and preventive interventions to reduce adolescent suicidal behavior.

An added benefit from Dr. Bridge's AFSP grant was that Neel Koyawala, a senior at a local Columbus, OH high school, used data from Dr. Bridge's AFSP grant to conduct an independent, mentored research project examining the relationship between sleep problems and adolescent suicidal behavior. According to Dr. Bridge, Neel's results showed that self-reported sleep problems were associated with adolescent suicidal behavior, even after taking into account current antidepressant medication use, depression and being bullied. Neel submitted his study to the Young Epidemiology Scholars Program National Competition. In April 2011, he presented the findings in Washington, D.C. and finished in the top 12 (of 562) applicants, earning him a $15,000 scholarship. Neel is currently attending the University of Pennsylvania where he plans to study biochemistry.

Jeffrey Bridge, PhD is an epidemiologist at the Center for Innovation in Pediatric Practice at Columbus Children's Research Institute and an Associate Professor of Pediatrics the Ohio State University College of Medicine. 
walk logo
The Fall Out of the Darkness Walks are posted to our website and ready for registration.  
Teams are forming and walkers are preparing to create shirts in honor of a loved one that they walk for, or preparing to walk as a team to support a family member or friend that has struggled with the daily challenges of depression.  We hope to see you all this Fall at one of our many walks in Indiana!

Helpful tools in preparing for the walk event: 
Download the  Participant Packet (it still says 2011, but the content still applies)
SPREAD THE WORD: Promotional Materials
Prefer to MAIL IN DONATIONS: Offline Donation Form

 Note: The Indianapolis Out of the Darkness Walk recently encountered a set back in the planning process and had to change the walk time (the date stays the same).  Registration for the Indianapolis Walk starts at 1:30pm and the opening ceremony begins at 2:30pm.  SAME PLACE- Celebration Plaza.  Immediately following The Heart Walk in the morning on September 15th.  


It is a pleasure to serve our Hoosier communities as we strive to raise awareness & educate, provide programs and help those in need find resources, encourage and inspire those living with a depressive illness, those that have attempted suicide, and survivors of suicide loss!.  We are a community, We can learn from each other, We can educate others, We can walk this journey out together and We can make a difference. It only takes one person.... one voice.... to set change in motion....


*To Learn More about the Field Advocate Program-  Click Here 

*To Learn More about AFSP funded research* -  Click Here

*To Learn More about the ISP program for Colleges -  Click Here

*To Learn More about AFSP's LGBT Initiative* - Click Here 

*To Learn More about the More Than Sad Program -  Click Here


The Indiana Chapter hosted a Facilitator Training in Indianapolis in April of 2012, in hopes of encouraging more Suicide Loss Support Groups around the state!  We trained 28 people on how to start and facilitate survivors of suicide loss support groups!  We hope to see those resources added to our website in the near future!

One of the many way we are Putting the Walk Funds to work in Indiana!



Suicide Shouldn't be a Secret 


Peace & Blessings,


Lisa Brattain - Chapter Chair

& the AFSP Indiana Board of Directors

American Foundation for Suicide Prevention

Indiana Chapter ~ 2010 Chapter of the Year for a Mid-Size Market & 2011 Award for Columbus being in the top 5 Campus Walks in the Country!


P.O. Box 1793

Noblesville, Indiana 46061



Join our efforts to Silence the Stigma of Suicide and Depression!

In the US, a person dies by suicide every 14 minutes.  Every 15 minutes, someone is left to make sense of this tragic loss.