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Plenary Session 1: We Heart You: Recover in Our Community

Publication Date: 1/19/2023

Established in 2018, the Winnebago County, Wisconsin, overdose fatality review (OFR) team has pursued numerous recommendations that have positively affected the community over the past 4 years. This plenary session will highlight recommendations that came out of Winnebago County’s OFR team meeting and were implemented to connect people to resources, utilize peer-led programs, break stigmas, and begin changing the culture of an entire community.

After the OFR team discovered that few OFR cases had connections to the recovery community, the team recommended to support and expand a substance-free culture that engages many stakeholders in the community and focuses on the support of individuals and families that are on a path to recovery. The initial phase of implementation included adding people in recovery to the OFR table, starting a sounding board to understand the relevance of OFR recommendations, and hosting community conversations with people in recovery to better understand their journeys and how the community could be more supportive. Participants will learn how this recommendation grew to be the “We Heart You” campaign, which included the creation of the We Heart You resource and referral card, the implementation of a public service announcement (PSA) focused on how to use the card, and the hosting of a community event. Ripples in the community were created from this event, and since that time, Winnebago County has created the We Heart You App, a peer-led rapid response team, and a PSA that breaks down the stigma of people who have been impacted by substance use disorder and humanizes recovery. After this session, the PSA video will be made available to any community that needs an inspirational template on the thriving recovery community with inputted local resources. 

Keywords: OFR overdose fatality review Winnebago County Wisconsin We Heart You public service announcement PSA