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Webinar Archives


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The sixth and final session of the ICRC-S 2018-19 webinar series, Preventing Suicide by Promoting Social Connectedness: Exploring Systems Approaches and Connectedness in Communities took place on July 22, 2019. During this webinar, Ann Marie White, Ed.D. Director of the Office of Mental Health Promotion and Associate Professor at the University of Rochester Medical Center, reviewed systems approaches to identify and understand social connectedness in a number of settings and contexts. Dr. White provided a brief overview of social connectedness in communities and shared examples such as applying network analyses to identify and understand effective social connectedness in community-based social contexts relevant to suicide prevention.

Additional Resources:

CDC National Center for Injury Prevention and Control- Preventing Suicide: A Technical Package of Policy, Programs, and Practices

SPRC – A Comprehesive Approach to Suicide Prevention 

The fourth webinar of the ICRC-S 2018-19 webinar series, Preventing Suicide by Promoting Social Connectedness: Promoting Connectedness for Veterans and Active Duty Military Personnel took place on May 3, 2019. During this webinar, Dr. Norman B. (Brad) Schmidt of the Department of Psychology at Florida State University and Director of the Anxiety and Behavioral Health Clinic, briefly reviewed the research on efforts to affect the interpersonal risks of ‘Perceived Burdensomeness’ and ‘Thwarted Belongingness’ in suicide prevention efforts. Despite research on the relationship between burdensomeness, belongingness and suicidality, less research has focused on whether we can reduce these interpersonal risks. Dr. Schmidt reviewed a large-scale clinical trial designed to reduce the risks of Perceived Burdensomeness and Thwarted Belongingness among Veterans and discussed the impact of risk reduction on suicide outcomes. Dr. Stephen O’Connor of the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at the University of Louisville and Associate Director for the University of Louisville Depression Center, reviewed information on a suicide focused group therapy available to Veterans. Despite a historical fear of contagion regarding suicide-focused group therapy, growing evidence suggests that this is the very thing that many Veterans want in terms of suicide-specific health services. Dr. O’Connor’s presentation described evolving research on the use of suicide-focused group therapy for veterans, and review how research on suicide-focused group therapy reflects a progression from program development to more rigorous testing of the possible mechanisms involved in the group process.

Selected Readings:
Johnson, L.L., O’Connor, S.S., Kaminer, B., Jobes, D.A., and Gutierrez, P.M.: Suicide-focused group therapy for Veterans. Mil Behav Health. 2:327-336, 2014.

Johnson, L.L., O’Connor, S.S., Kaminer, B., Gutierrez, P.M., Carney, E., Groh, B., & Jobes, D.A.: Evaluation of structured assessment and mediating factors of suicide focused group therapy for Veterans recently discharged from inpatient psychiatry. Arch Suicide Res. 8:1-19, 2017. 

O’Connor, S.S., Carney, E., Jennings, K.W., Johnson, L.L., Gutierrez, P.M., Jobes, D.A.: Relative impact of risk factors, thwarted belongingness, and perceived burdensomeness on suicidal ideation in veteran service members. J. Clin. Psychol. 73(10): 1360-1369, 2017.

Short, N. A., Stentz, L., Raines, A. M., Boffa, J. W., & Schmidt, N. B. (In press). Intervening on thwarted belongingness and perceived burdensomeness to reduce suicidality among veterans: A randomized controlled trial. Behavior Therapy. 

Allan, N. P.,Boffa, J. W., Raines, A. M., & Schmidt, N. B. (2018). Intervention related reductions in perceived burdensomeness mediates incidence of suicidal thoughts. Journal of Affective Disorders, 234, 282-288.

Chu C, Buchman-Schmitt JM, Stanley IH, Hom MA, Tucker RP, Hagan CR, Rogers ML, Podlogar MC, Chiurliza B, Ringer FB, et al. Psychol Bull. 2017 Dec; 143(12):1313-1345. 

The third webinar of the ICRC-S 2018-19 webinar series, Preventing Suicide by Promoting Social Connectedness: Promoting Connectedness in American Indian and Alaska Native Communities through Culture, took place on April 22, 2019. The Qungasvik (kung-az-vik) 'Toolbox' is a multilevel strength- based intervention developed by Yup'ik communities to reduce and prevent alcohol use disorder (AUD) and suicide in 12-18 year old Yup'ik Alaska Native youth. The intervention aims to increase strengths and protections against AUD and suicide by promoting culturally meaningful 'reasons for sobriety' and 'reasons for life.' During this webinar, Dr. Stacy Rasmus, Associate Research Professor and Director of the Center for Alaska Native Health Research (CANHR) at the University of Alaska Fairbanks and Dr. James Allen, Professor in the Department of Family Medicine and BioBehavioral Health at the University of Minnesota Medical School, Duluth campus, described the Qungasvik intervention and the research leading to its development, reviewed the research on which and how social connectedness concepts are addressed in American Indian/Alaska Native cultures, and presented on the path taken by Alaska Native communities to adapt and implement the intervention to their local cultural context.

Additional resource: 

Suicide Surveillance Strategies for American Indian and Alaska Native Communities | SPRC

This was the second webinar of the ICRC-S 2018-19 webinar series, Preventing Suicide by Promoting Social Connectedness: Promoting Connectedness for Youth through Social Networks and Sources of Strength. Sources of Strength is a universal suicide prevention program that builds protective factors and reduces the risk of suicide for vulnerable youth through a strengths-based focus on social connectedness and peer group norms. In this webinar, Dr. Peter Wyman, PhD, from the Center for the Study and Prevention of Suicide at the University of Rochester, reviewed research on the influence of school-based social networks to adolescent risk and protective factors for suicidal behaviors, discussed adolescent exposure to risk factors for suicide, and discussed how school-based social networks can be used to promote social connectedness and address adolescent relational needs. Dr. Wyman also reviewed research findings regarding the Sources of Strength impact on and through school-based networks. Scott LoMurray, Deputy Director, from Sources of Strength, provided an overview of Sources of Strength as an evidence-based universal upstream intervention, reviewed how diverse peer leaders and trusted adults use social connectedness as a protective factor to transform behavior and social norms at a school-wide level, and examined how the shared risk and protective factor framework and interventions like that of Sources of Strength can impact a variety of negative behaviors and outcomes. Presenters briefly reviewed replication of Sources of Strength with populations such as LGBTQ and Tribal youth, to promote social connectedness and positive group norms. 

Sources of Strength website: https://sourcesofstrength.org/

This was the first webinar of the ICRC-S 2018-19 webinar series, Preventing Suicide by Promoting Social Connectedness: An Overview of What We Know About Promoting Connectedness. In this webinar, Kim Van Orden, PhD, from the Center for the Study and Prevention of Suicide at the University of Rochester, discussed the state of the science on social connectedness as an intervention target to prevent suicide. She discussed current challenges faced by researchers and practitioners in suicide prevention, including how to define and measure connectedness; clarifying the role of connectedness as an intervention target (e.g., causal factor and/or buffer or protective factor); limitations of what is known about promoting connectedness; and opportunities for the field to build a portfolio of evidence-based strategies to promote connectedness. 


The interpersonal theory of suicide. Van Orden, K. A., Witte, T. K., Cukrowicz, K. C., Braithwaite, S. R., Selby, E. A., & Joiner, T. E. (2010). Psychological review117(2), 575-600. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3130348/

Interested in measures to assess social connectedness? It’s best to select measures of Social Connectedness based on the population with whom you’re working. Two potential resources are:

This was the sixth webinar of the ICRC-S 2018 webinar series. In this webinar, Marci Feldman Hertz, MS, of the Division of Analysis, Research, and Practice Integration at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reviewed research on the relationship between bullying and suicide. Her presentation explored youth risk and protective factors that might increase or decrease the risk for bullying involvement or suicide across several socio-ecological levels. She also reviewed specific strategies that schools and youth-serving organizations can implement to increase protective factors for youth. Particular emphasis was given to increasing school connectedness as part of a multi-tiered strategy. Patricia Agatston, PhD, LPC, Counselor and Prevention Specialist with the Cobb County School District’s Prevention/Intervention Center presented on the history of the district’s Prevention/Intervention Center as a comprehensive crisis intervention and prevention approach to student suicides. She also provided an overview of district strategies to prevent suicide and bullying through various evidence-based interventions and programs, and the role of community collaboration to support and expand school-based prevention efforts. 

In this webinar, Lisa Brenner PhD, of the University of Colorado, Anschutz School of Medicine and Director of the Department of Veterans Affairs Rocky Mountain Mental Illness Research, Education, and Clinical Center, discussed research on the relationship between traumatic brain injuries and suicide, how this association may influence patients’ suicidal ideation and suicide risk, and opportunities for early identification and treatment in health care settings of patients at high-risk for suicidal behavior due to a traumatic brain injury. During this presentation, Dr. Brenner reviewed epidemiological data on the prevalence of suicidal ideation and behavior among individuals – particularly veterans – with history of a traumatic brain injury, her current research on best practice interventions in primary care and community settings, and the opportunity for future research to avert suicidal thoughts and behaviors through enhanced care approaches. Participants were able to ask questions of the presenter. 

In a collaboration between the Northeast Injury Prevention Network (NIPN) and the Injury Control Research Center for Suicide Prevention (ICRC-S), suicide prevention researchers and practitioners from 4 states shared their experiences in translating suicide prevention research to practice.  In this one-hour webinar, representatives from the New York State Office of Mental Health, the Injury Prevention Center at Connecticut Children's Medical Center, the Vermont Zero Suicide Pilot Project and the Rhode Island Department of Health’s Youth Suicide Prevention Initiative all share a translation experience including an overview of the work, the process used, results, successes and challenges, lessons learned and recommendations. 

In this webinar, M. Camille Hoffman, MD, MSCS, of the departments of Obstetrics & Gynecology and Psychiatry at the University of Colorado School of Medicine discussed national efforts to improve maternal safety, her research on maternal depression and suicide, and opportunities for early identification in health care settings of women at risk of self-harm. This presentation reviewed Colorado’s data on maternal depression and self-harm rates and discussed national data on maternal depression and suicide, strategies to address maternal depression by Colorado and other states, and also explored the implications for researchers and health care practitioners.

The Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) study, led by CDC and Kaiser Permanente, was a large-scale, retrospective study of the relationship between childhood trauma and household challenges on lifetime health outcomes, including suicide attempts, adult depression, and substance abuse. In this webinar, Deb Stone, ScD, MSW, MPH, of the Division of Violence Prevention at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention described: the importance of comprehensive suicide prevention that includes a focus upstream on preventing suicide risk before it happens; ACEs as an important area of that focus, and examples of collaborative, evidence-based interventions to prevent early adversities. Ingrid Bou-Saada MA, MPH, Injury Prevention Program Consultant with the Injury & Violence Prevention Branch at the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services Division of Public Health, and Elizabeth Cuervo Tilson, MD, MPH, State Health Director and Chief Medical Officer for the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services, presented on the path North Carolina is taking to use a multi-agency collaborative approach that links ACEs to state behavioral health priorities such as suicide prevention and to multi-disciplinary initiatives. The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services has provided leadership on a multi-agency collaboration connecting ACEs with state priorities in substance abuse prevention and the opioid epidemic and in the prevention of domestic violence, sexual assault, and suicide. 

In this webinar, Eric Caine, M.D., Co-Director of the Center for the Study and Prevention of Suicide at the University of Rochester Medical Center, discussed the rationale for a comprehensive and highly coordinated approach to suicide prevention and described the role that public health can play in the implementation of this approach.  This presentation also considered what elements are necessary for creating and sustaining the mosaic of efforts that are needed for preventing suicide and its antecedent risks, as well as for preventing other related forms of premature death. Jarrod Hindman, M.S., Deputy Chief of the Violence and Injury Prevention-Mental Health Promotion Branch at the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, spoke about how the state of Colorado is adapting this approach in the planning and implementation of the Colorado National Collaborative, an initiative to develop, implement and evaluate a comprehensive approach to reduce suicide in Colorado by 20 percent by 2024. 

The Zero Suicide model builds on the foundational belief that death by suicide for individuals receiving care within the health and behavioral health system is preventable. Collaborative safety planning, a critical component of the model, is an approach that allows clinicians to develop safety plans with any person identified for suicide risk. In this webinar, Adam Swanson of the Suicide Prevention Resource Center provided an overview of the Zero Suicide model and how safety planning contributes to the model. Dr. Barbara Stanley of Columbia University described the role safety planning has in preventing suicide, the six components of the Safety Planning Intervention (Stanley & Brown, 2012), and the research and evidence that supports safety planning. Dr. Stanley detailed how, in order to be effective, safety planning must be treated as a collaborative clinical intervention rather than a form to be completed. She briefly summarized the theoretical underpinnings of safety planning, its intended use, and the training necessary to embed the intervention in health care settings. Mr. Michael Cain of Southwest Behavioral Health Center in Utah discussed why the Center chose to incorporate collaborative safety planning as part of clinical workflows, how it is being implemented, and the challenges and successes encountered.

The Good Behavior Game (GBG), a universal classroom behavior management method, was tested in first- and second-grade classrooms in Baltimore beginning in the 1985–1986 school year. Follow-up at ages 19–21 found significantly lower rates of drug and alcohol use disorders, regular smoking, antisocial personality disorder, delinquency and incarceration for violent crimes, suicide ideation, and use of school-based services among students who had played the GBG. Several replications with shorter follow-up periods have provided similar early results. (1) Evidence shows that Good Behavior Game benefits continue to accrue. In 2008, Holly Wilcox, PhD discovered that children who played the Game were half as likely as young adults to report suicidal thoughts and about a third less likely to report a suicide attempt. As a result, the Good Behavior Game is cited as a promising program in the National Suicide Prevention Strategy. (2) 

In this webinar, Holly Wilcox summarized the evidence behind the Good Behavior Game and described the relevant suicide prevention related research.  Dr. Wilcox also spoke about the development of the GBG, its intended use, and training that is available and needed to use it.  Mr. Longinaker, a first grade teacher in the Baltimore City School system, shared how he has used the Good Behavior Game in his classrooms and described the benefits and challenges of the program. 

  1. The Good Behavior Game and the Future of Prevention and Treatment. Addict Sci Clin Pract. 2011 Jul; 6(1): 73–84. Sheppard G. Kellam, M.D.,Amelia C. L. Mackenzie, B.S., C. Hendricks Brown, Ph.D., Jeanne M. Poduska, Sc.D.,Wei Wang, Ph.D., Hanno Petras, Ph.D., and Holly C. Wilcox, Ph.D.
  2. http://www.jhsph.edu/about/centennial-2016/centennial-highlights/then-an...

For more information about the Good Behavior Game, including training for teachers, visit: 

Sleep disturbances, including difficulty initiating sleep, difficulty maintaining sleep, nightmares and early morning awakening are believed to be common among people who attempt suicide. (1) Nightmares are disturbing, visual dream sequences that occur in your mind and wake you up from your sleep. Nightmares are very common and can begin at any age. Nightmare disorder develops when you have nightmares on a frequent basis. Nightmare disorder is not as common as nightmares. Dr. Michael Nadorff reviewed the literature on nightmares and suicide, including possible mediators of the relation. He also discussed the literature on nightmare treatments, and how they may hold promise for reducing suicide risk. Dr. Barry Krakow focused his presentation on Imagery Rehearsal Therapy, which is a recommended treatment for nightmare disorder. He also discussed how to conduct the treatment in a time-limited fashion, as well as ways to overcome implementation barriers.

(1)    American Academy of Sleep Medicine. "Sleep Disturbances, Nightmares Are Common Among Suicide Attempters." ScienceDaily.  2 January 2007. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/01/070101113027.htm>

The U.S death rate from suicide is stubbornly consistent, promoting calls for research to provide novel directions for prevention and treatment. While previous research has established systematic patterning across psychological, social, and geographical levels, and multilevel influences have been theorized, U.S. research integrating insights across promising etiological streams has been largely blocked by the absence of large-scale data sets combining individual and contextual levels. This webinar presents findings from a project that addressed this bifurcation in research efforts by merging a number of well-known data sets and harmonizing key, available variables. The resulting United States Multi-Level Suicide Data Set (US-MSDS) provides the ability to see how individual level risk factors change depending on geographic residence. The analyses provide some novel findings that have critical implications for future research and programming.

Bernice A. Pescosolido, Ph.D. is Distinguished and Chancellor’s Professor of Sociology at Indiana University, Director of the Indiana Consortium for Mental Health Services Research (ICMHSR), and Co-Director of the Indiana University Network Science Institute (IUNI). Dr. Pescosolido has focused her research and teaching on social issues in health, illness, and healing. Her research agenda addresses how social networks connect individuals to their communities and to institutional structures, providing the "wires" through which people’s attitudes and actions are connected and shaped. In the area of suicide research, she has examined claims on the utility of official suicide statistics, the contemporary effects of religious affiliation, and the potential of a network translation of Durkheim’s theory.

Dr. Ian Rockett began the webinar by providing information about suicide misclassification, especially as it relates to poisoning and the current opioid epidemic. He also discussed this misclassification as a problem for understanding and preventing suicide and then explained the concept of death from drug self-intoxication (DDSI) and the need for an enhanced category of self-injury mortality that transcends registered suicides. Dr. Eric Caine built on the prior presentation by placing this work into a public health-prevention context. Of note, many programmatic efforts – e.g., preventing suicide or DDSI – are based on the manner of death and the factors that were apparent during the last moments of life. Prevention efforts for self-injury mortality, however, must be developed long before these final, fatal moments.

This was the first webinar in the ICRC-S's 2017 webinar series, which will explore Critical Issues in Suicide Prevention Research and Practice.

The suicide rate among U.S. middle school-aged children doubled between 2007 and 2014, according to data released in 2016 by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).  In 2007, among children ages 10 – 14, there were 180 suicide deaths, while in 2014 the number of suicide deaths in this age group increased to 425.  For the first time in 2014, the death rate due to suicide in this age range was the same as for injuries resulting from motor vehicle traffic crashes (1).  While the number of suicide deaths is low when compared to other age groups, any death by suicide is a tragedy felt by family, friends and society.  Moreover, the trend of suicide deaths among middle school-aged children indicates a growing public health problem that must be understood and addressed by researchers and practitioners. 

In this webinar, Sally Curtin, an author of the recently released CDC data report entitled Increase in Suicide in the United States, 1999–2014, described the trends in injury and violence-related deaths among children and youth and explained the data on suicide deaths in children ages 10-14. Jeffrey Hill, Violence and Injury Prevention Program Manager and Youth Suicide Prevention Project Manager in Rhode Island, described elements of Rhode Island’s Suicide Prevention Initiative (SPI) and their use of surveillance data for targeted program efforts.

(1) QuickStats: Death Rates for Motor Vehicle Traffic Injury, Suicide, and Homicide among Children and Adolescents Aged 10–14 Years — United States, 1999–2014. MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep 2016;65:1203. DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.15585/mmwr.mm6543a8

The final webinar in the ICRC-S’s fourth annual webinar series, Successful Collaborative Research for Suicide Prevention: What Works, took place Wednesday, July 13, 2:00 - 3:00 p.m. Eastern Time.  Speakers from Vermont and Kentucky shared their experiences in identifying, obtaining, and analyzing suicide surveillance data to make advances in suicide prevention.  Bonnie Lipton, Prevention Specialist for the Suicide Prevention Resource Center, acted as Moderator. 

Inspired by the National Action Alliance for Suicide Prevention’s Suicide Care in Systems Framework, Kentucky’s Garrett Lee Smith (GLS) program and Department for Behavioral Health, Development, and Intellectual Disabilities (DBHDID) looked at data as a first step in enhancing the ability of Kentucky’s state psychiatric hospitals and community mental health centers (CMHCs) to prevent suicide. Jan Ulrich of the DBHDID shared lessons learned and next steps in improving Kentucky’s systems of care toward preventing suicide.

In 2014, Vermont’s Service Members, Veterans and Their Families Workgroup, which was convened by the governor and includes high-level leadership from state agencies, initiated a request to gather information on suicides among veterans. As part of the response, members of the Vermont Suicide Prevention Data Group (Data Group) conducted an analysis of suicides, both among veterans and among Vermont residents who had received services from state-funded mental health and substance abuse agencies. Tom Delaney of the University of Vermont College of Medicine shared the experience of working with the Data Group, which found that these data indicated that expanding the current GLS funding to include suicide prevention across the lifespan was warranted and made a case for such expansion to key constituents.

The fifth webinar in the ICRC-S’s fourth annual webinar series, Successful Collaborative Research for Suicide Prevention: What Works, took place on Wednesday, June 1, 2:00 - 3:00 p.m. Eastern Time.  The speakers for this webinar were Camille Quinn of The Ohio State University, Kathleen Kemp of Brown University and Rhode Island Hospital, and Kevin Richard, Deputy Administrator for Rhode Island Family Court. Dr. Quinn provided background information on what is known and not known about juvenile justice involved/incarcerated youth and suicide and moderated the webinar.  Dr. Kemp and Mr. Richard shared their experience implementing an evidence-based mental health and substance use screening protocol (which included suicide ideation) in the family court with diverted youth. In addition, the speakers addressed their plans to implement a brief intervention provided by front-line juvenile court staff for youth who screen positive for suicide ideation as well as plans to pursue the ability to share records across health care and court records. The presenters also spoke to the challenges and successes of their collaboration.

The fourth webinar in the ICRC-S’s fourth annual webinar series, Successful Collaborative Research for Suicide Prevention: What Works, took place on Wednesday, May 18, 2:00-3:00 p.m. Eastern Time. The speakers for this webinar were Marsha Wittink from the University of Rochester School of Medicine and Brooke Levandowski from the Veterans Health Administration’s Center of Excellence for Suicide Prevention. Their collaborative research project explores clinician perspectives on: 1) which elements of team-based, collaborative care facilitate suicide prevention for individual patients and 2) what aspects of team-based processes might be beneficial for preventing suicide at the population level.