Marathon County forms Suicide Death Review Team

The team is in its early states but will eventually make recommendations for suicide prevention, and help families impacted by loss
Published: Sep. 15, 2022 at 6:52 PM CDT
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WAUSAU, Wis. (WSAW) - Marathon County’s Suicide Death Review Team is still in its early stages, but when it’s up and running, it will be 1 of 5 suicide death review teams in the state.

“The number of suicides are continuously rising the past couple of years,” said Jessa Bokhoven, the public health educator for the Marathon County Health Department.

The Marathon County Medical Examiner’s Office came up with the idea to create a team to specifically address mental health and suicide.

”In Marathon County, last year there were 21 deaths by suicide, and this year so far there have been 16,” said Bokhoven.

So the medical examiner’s office reached out to the Marathon County Health Department to form the Suicide Death Review Team.

“Purpose is to review inform recommendations for prevention initiatives based on the circumstances surrounding the death,” said Bokhoven.

The SDRT will provide services to families impacted by loss, improve the communities understanding of suicide, and reduce the stigma around mental health and suicide.

“We will be coming up with recommendations for different mental health services in the area to hopefully prevent more suicides in the area,” said Bokhoven.

The team will review certain cases.

“Our medical examiner actually picks the cases that we’ll be reviewing so she kind of determines which ones, then we invite all the members of our team to the table and we discuss from there,” said Bokhoven.

Several local agencies are joining forces to put an end to suicide deaths in the county.

“It’ll be a lot of community partners that are here locally like law enforcement, mental health providers, healthcare systems, EMS. Anyone who has had contact with the deceased prior to their death,” said Bokhoven.

They said their goal is to get the number of suicides down to none.

“We’re just hoping to prevent more deaths by suicide in general. Even one is too many every year,” said Bokhoven.

Bokhoven said they’ve already been in talks with other counties about creating their own team.

The Marathon County Health Department hopes to have the team up and running by November 2022 and fully operational by 2023.