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Janet Schnell honored at Mental Health America of Indiana Symposium

Indiana Suicide Prevention Network announced the Torchbearer award during the Mental Health and Addiction Symposium Luncheon on December 9, 2022, in Indianapolis Indiana. Janet Schnell, President of Survivors of Suicide of Dubois County (SOS) was selected out of 82 nominees this year.

During her tenure as President, Schnell earned a master’s degree in Social Work from the University of Southern Indiana and became a licensed clinical social worker specializing in suicide prevention and substance misuse. She is currently a mental health provider for CareATC and provides care through Kimball International Health Center. Schnell co-developed training in area schools to recognize signs of depression and suicide ideation and advocated for change in the federal government policies regarding mental health care. In addition and helped to develop the current policy in Indiana with training in suicide prevention.

Schnell is a Retrospective Fatality Analysis (RFA) Consultant where research is used to better understand the impact of contributing factors, such as substance misuse, on suicide and how to strengthen suicide prevention efforts. RFA was designed to support suicide loss survivors, who report that participating in processes like this helps them gain insight, make meaning of death, and help others. Janet has been active in providing training throughout the United States.

Schnell is a certificated trainer for Question Persuade Refer (QPR), Applied Suicide Intervention Skills Training (ASIST), and Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs). Schnell is a published author. Schnell wrote a chapter in the book Seeking Hope: Stories of the Suicide Bereaved in which she shared her story of surviving after the suicide death of her brother Kent and articles for the New Social Worker describing suicide survivor reactions after loss.

Janet Schnell, along with her mother, Mary Lou Schmitt, and sister, Denise Schnell, started Survivors of Suicide (SOS) of Dubois in 1996 after the suicide death of their brother and son. The organization is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization recognized by the state and federal government. The mission of SOS is to offer support to suicide loss survivors, increase understanding and awareness of depression, and prevent suicide by providing evidence-based suicide prevention training to the community. For more information contact SOS at or on FaceBook SOSofDC.

During her acceptance speech, Schnell acknowledged her family and friends for their love and support, the board members of SOS for their dedication to helping suicide loss survivors, the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention for engaging suicide loss survivors, and co-workers for encouragement. Janet identified support from a friend in writing a public policy addressing suicide prevention, research identifying 135 people affected after a suicide death, and the 3-digit Crisis Hotline 988.

The Torchbearer award was presented during the annual MHA-I luncheon recognition program. The symposium was held in partnership with the Indiana Division of Mental Health and the Indiana University Department of Psychiatry. The symposium broke record attendance this year. The award ceremony celebrates the dedication and commitment of Hoosiers who exemplify efforts and are Heroes.

If you are thinking about suicide or you are worried about someone there is help. Please call or text the National Crisis Lifeline at 988.

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