Webinar Archives

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.


Image of pills falling out of a bottle with the words "Poisoning and Self-Injury Mortality: Can Reclassification of Drug Deaths Lead to Improved Prevention?"

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.

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Substance Abuse

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

Community-based participatory research (CBPR) is a collaborative research approach that is designed to ensure meaningful participation by communities in all aspects of the research process. (1) This webinar focused on how to develop and sustain research collaborations for suicide prevention and describe purposes, principles, pitfalls and practices of these partnership systems.  The presenter, Dr. Ann Marie White, also discussed examples of collaborative research projects and how co-leadership with community stakeholders can advance the prevention of suicide. 
(1) Viswanathan, M. et al. (July 2004). Community based Participatory Research: Assessing the Evidence.  AHRQ Publication No. 04 - E022 2.

This webinar focused on the use of student-generated social media data to detect and monitor behavior patterns predictive of risk for suicide and self-injury. The Durkheim Project Application (DPA) is an existing digital technology, originally designed to apply machine learning algorithms to social media data to improve identification of risk for suicide in veterans. The presenters, Molly Adrian, Ph.D. and Aaron Lyon, Ph.D. of the University of Washington discussed their research into applying the DPA as a universal suicide prevention strategy to a general high school population in order to examine the extent to which student-generated social media data provide the information needed to accurately predict and reduce suicide risk compared to more traditional paper-and-pencil screening approaches.

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While the use of communication strategies is becoming increasingly popular in public health approaches to suicide prevention, few efforts regularly adopt recommended practices associated with successful messaging including the use of data to drive campaign activities. In this webinar, Dr. Karras provided guidance in this area by discussing empirical methods to inform the development and evaluation of suicide prevention messaging, and presented examples of those utilized by the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to assess outcomes associated with VA sponsored campaigns. She concluded her presentation with discussion of and recommendations for a framework for the effective use of suicide prevention communications. Sleep disturbance has been identified as a risk factor associated with suicidal thought and behavior and may represent a low stigma presenting problem for initiating psychotherapy. Dr. Bishop briefly reviewed the literature regarding relationships among sleep disturbance and suicidal thought and behavior and discussed ongoing work in the development of interventions to simultaneously address sleep, depression, and suicide, and the importance of this work to the Veteran community.

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This Community of Practice (CoP) webinar took place on Thursday, August 11, 2:00 – 3:00 p.m. Eastern Time and addressed two topics of interest to many early career researchers – career development and disseminating your research results. Eric Caine, MD and Yeates Conwell, MD, both Co-Directors of the ICRC-S, were the featured presenters.

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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.

Suicide Prevention


The third webinar in the ICRC-S’s fourth annual webinar series, Successful Collaborative Research for Suicide Prevention: What Works, took place on Tuesday, April 26th, 3:00 - 4:00 p.m. Eastern Time. The speakers for this webinar were Jo Anne Sirey, Ph.D., of Weill Cornell Medical College and Jacquelin Berman, Ph.D., of The New York City Department for the Aging. During the webinar, Drs. Sirey and Berman presented the Open Door intervention designed to improve the link to mental health care among older adults with depressive symptoms identified by aging service staff.  They discussed its implementation in New York City senior centers. Both presenters also shared the advantages and challenges of their research collaboration, as well as lessons learned. The webinar was moderated by Yeates Conwell, Co-Director of the ICRC-S and Vice Chair in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry.  

Mental Health


The second webinar in the ICRC-S's fourth annual webinar series, Successful Collaborative Research for Suicide Prevention: What Works, took place on Friday, March 18, from 2:00 p.m. - 3:00 p.m. Eastern Time.The speakers for this webinar were members of the Tennessee team who attended the ICRC-S 2014 Research Training Institute, including Jennifer Lockman, Centerstone Research Institute and Terrence Love, Tennessee Department of Health. Additional presenters included Scott Ridgway, Director of the TSPN and Susan Gallagher, RTI faculty. Their collaborative research project focused on evaluating The Tennessee Suicide Prevention Network (TSPN), a statewide network of approximately 11,000 volunteers and professionals. The TSPN is a public-private organization responsible for implementing the Tennessee Strategy for Suicide Prevention. The presentation focused on their research project (including the initial and revised aims, the qualitative and quantitative methods, IRB experience and preliminary results) as well as the collaborative process these three agencies engaged in to reach their goals. Susan Gallagher who acted as mentor to the Tennessee team for 12 months moderated the webinar.

This sixth Community of Practice (CoP) session in the ICRC-S 2015-16 series, Planning a Collaborative Research Project, will focus on getting institutional buy-in for a collaborative research project.  This webinar will reach back to the 3 research projects which were presented in the September 2015 kick-off of this webinar series to hear the perspectives of the community partners in those projects.  Kathy Plum  and Melanie Funchess from the research project “Addressing Mental Health Promotion in Neighborhoods: The Natural Helpers Learning Collaborative”, Ann Marie Cook from “The Senior Connection”, and Sally J. Rousseau from “Exploring Suicide and Domestic Violence Risk Factors Across Disciplines” will all discuss their successful efforts in getting their organizations’ support for participating in the research studies, including the challenges they faced in getting institutional buy-in, the benefits to their organizations from participation in the research projects, and the lessons learned.  This webinar will be particularly useful to those who are interested in embarking on collaborative research projects and want to understand the community partner perspective.  

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The Injury Control Research Center for Suicide Prevention (ICRC-S), a CDC-funded research center focusing on a public health approach to suicide prevention and research, launched its third annual webinar series “Exploring the Impact of Suicide Prevention Research in Multiple Settings,” on January 20, 2015. The settings which will be addressed in this year's ICRC-S webinar series include: Health Care, Schools, Faith-Based Organizations, The Justice System, The Workplace and Social Media.

On Wednesday, February 11, 2015, 2:00 pm – 3:00 pm Eastern Time, the second webinar, “Exploring the Impact of Suicide Prevention Research in Health Care Settings,” took place with speakers Ursula Whiteside, PhD, clinical psychologist and suicide prevention researcher at Forefront: Innovations in Suicide Prevention, and Brian Ahmedani, PhD, LMSW, research scientist at Henry Ford Health System. Health care settings provide an important opportunity for suicide prevention, intervention, and postvention. Speakers addressed research that is being conducted in health care settings, explained the known impact the research has had, and identified needed research and practice going forward. Yeates Conwell, M.D., Professor and Vice Chair of the University of Rochester Medical Center’s Department of Psychiatry, moderated this session.

This webinar is one hour and provided an opportunity for dialogue with the webinar presenters. Please follow this link to access the recording http://edc.adobeconnect.com/p73a2eul1wb/

A project of the University of Rochester Medical Center and Education Development Center, the ICRC-S draws suicide prevention directly into the domain of public health and injury prevention and links it to complementary approaches to mental health. 

Ursula Whiteside, PhD is a licensed clinical psychologist with over 15 years of experience working in the field of treatment for suicidal individuals. She is currently a research scientist with Forefront: Innovations in Suicide Prevention, working on grants from the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention and the National Institute of Mental Health.

Brian Ahmedani, PhD, LMSW, is a research scientist at Henry Ford Health System with appointments in the Center for Health Policy and Health Services Research and the Department of Psychiatry. As a researcher, his main interests have centered around mental health/substance use services, with a special focus on suicide prevention. 

Yeates Conwell, MD is professor and vice chair of the University of Rochester (UR) School of Medicine Department of Psychiatry, where he also directs the Geriatric Psychiatry Program. He is co-director of the UR Center for the Study and Prevention of Suicide and director of the University’s Office for Aging Research and Health Services. Dr. Conwell has lectured and written extensively on suicide and depression in later life, drawing on research that has been continuously funded by NIH, the CDC, and foundation support for the past 25 years. 

Best Practices

The fifth Community of Practice (CoP) session in the ICRC-S’s 2015-2016 series, Planning a Collaborative Research Project, will provide insights on “Preparing to Submit an Application for IRB Review.”  Bretta Jacquemin, Research Scientist at the Center for Health Statistics and Informatics at the New Jersey Department of Health, will give a brief overview of the federal regulations regarding the protection of human subjects, highlighting the definitions of “research” and “human subject” and explaining how local practices may be more expansive than federal guidelines.  She will also discuss the components of a complete IRB application, the different types of IRB review, and how an application is read by a reviewer.  She will then provide some examples of studies and the logic used in the review of those studies. Dr. Bryann DeBeer, a participant in the ICRC-S’s 2014 Research Training Institute (RTI), will discuss her experiences in submitting research projects for IRB review. In particular, she will outline considerations for gaining IRB approval for RTI projects, including the timeline of project submission, tips for completing the IRB application, anticipation of challenges and strategies for overcoming challenges, and special considerations for suicide prevention research.

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