Since the suicide and overdose fatality review (SOFR) team in Whitley County, Indiana, was formed in August 2022, it has learned so much. Within the rural community, the team was able to form quickly because everyone knew each other well because of their roles in the county. Within the team’s review process, the team has received significant and detailed information from the county’s prosecutor’s office, sheriff’s department, police department, Department of Child Services, and emergency department. All collaborative partners work very closely and well together and choose to find a resolve versus just engage discussion.
As information was brought to the table and discussed, the importance of developing a timeline of the decedent’s life was critical. The timeline helps the team identify gaps in services very quickly.
Recommendations that the SOFR team have identified so far are:
- Follow-up counseling for suicide attempts in the teenage years
- Gaps within mental health care in the county (three communities within the county do not have a community mental health office)
- Stigma around men receiving counseling through a divorce
- Recovery supports needed in the county
Implementing: Mission 25 is launching a Recovery Engagement Center (REC) to provide multiple pathways to recovery. This is a longtime needed service for Whitley County. The REC will open in late fall 2023.
Resources: Mission 25 and the health department are providing naloxone; the police department’s “Handle With Care” program was discussed for children who lost a parent or loved one by overdose or suicide; the Department of Child Services is providing family care.
Keywords: suicide and overdose fatality review SOFR team Whitley County Indiana rural community collaborative partners collaboration timeline recovery support OFR stigma mental health counseling