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Setting Our Kids Up for Life Success — Social and Emotional Learning in Our Classrooms: Interview with Dr. Julian Dooley | Episode 74

What is self-awareness mindfulness?

“The awareness that emerges through paying attention, on purpose, in the present moment, and non-judgmentally to the unfolding of experience moment by moment.” ~Jon Kabat-Zinn

Self-awareness, of our own emotional states is just one of the key tenets in collaborative social and emotional learning being taught in our schools. As a foundation for developing emotional intelligence and resilience, this type of education helps inoculate our youth against the many challenges they face. In this interview, I speak with Dr. Julian Dooley, an international expert on school-based best practices in social and emotional learning including:

Self-Awareness

Self-Management

Responsible Decision-Making

Relationships

Social Awareness

About Dr. Julian Dooley
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Dr. Julian Dooley, psi Training and Education Coordinator, has years of experience in mental health research, treatment and strategy. He has developed mental health programs for psi partner schools across Ohio and also provides psychology services to St. Mary Byzantine School in Cleveland through psi. Additionally, Dr. Dooley has more than 70 invited and peer-reviewed lectures and has been a member of numerous national and international boards and committees, including the Advisory Council of the National Centre Against Bullying and the National Coalition on Children’s Resilience and Mental Health. He earned his Ph.D. in psychology from the University of Melbourne. For more information on this episode go to https://www.sallyspencerthomas.com/hope-illuminated-podcast/74

Critical Suicide Theory and Research — From the Gender Paradox to Cultural Scripts of Suicidal Behaviors: Interview with Professor Silvia S

In this episode, I interview Professor Silvia Sara Canetto, the leading scholar on critical studies of gender, culture and suicidal behaviors from intersectional and global perspectives.

Professor Canetto is most well-known for her research on the gender paradox of suicide, a term she coined, with Isaac Sakinofsky, to refer to the fact that girls and women are more likely to report suicidal thoughts and to engage in suicidal behavior, and yet they are less likely to die of suicide than boys and men.

Professor Canetto is also the author of the theory of cultural scripts of gender and suicidal behavior–a theory that builds on the insights she gained from researching the gender paradox of suicide.

In this interview Professor Canetto discusses what U.S. suicidology was like when she entered the field as an international student at Northwestern University Medical School in Chicago. She reviews her contributions to the field—from challenging its stigmatizing and gender-biased language (e.g., successful suicide to refer to what in the United States is a more common male-outcome of suicidal behavior) to challenging dominant gender-biased theories of suicidal behaviors (e.g., that women’s suicidal behavior is an emotional and impulsive reaction to trivial relationship problems, and that men’s suicidal behavior is a desperate but deliberate response to serious social and economic adversities).

Professor Canetto then describes her theory and research on suicide scripts. A key point of her theory is that there are different conditions, by culture, when suicidal behavior is relatively permissible and even expected, from certain people, using certain methods, and with specific social consequences. Another important point of her theory is that the different cultural scripts contribute to the cultural variability in suicidality rates. This is because suicidal individuals are influenced by these scripts in choosing their course of action and in giving their suicidal act public meaning. At the end of the interview Professor Canetto reviews examples of research supporting her theory. She also addresses the implications of the theory and evidence on cultural scripts of suicidal behavior–including that there are no universal risk and protective factors, and that therefore prevention should be grounded on local scripts of suicidal behavior.

About Prof. Silvia Sara Canetto
Professor Silvia Sara Canetto
Silvia Sara Canetto, Ph.D., is Professor of Psychology at Colorado State University, USA. She has graduate degrees from Italy, Israel, and the USA. She speaks, with an accent, every language she knows, English, French, Spanish, Hebrew, and her native Italian. Her scholarship on cultural scripts of suicide has been recognized with the American Association of Suicidology’s (AAS) Shneidman early-career award, and AAS highest-honor, the Dublin award. Her article “The gender paradox in suicide” is the third most-cited in Suicide and Life-Threatening Behavior. She is “Fellow” of the American Psychological Association, the Association for Psychological Science, and the Gerontological Society of America. For more information visit https://www.sallyspencerthomas.com/hope-illuminated-podcast/73

Critical Suicidology: Why Our Traditional Approaches in Suicide Prevention Have Failed and Finding Alternatives

Critical suicidology is an emerging area of scholarship and advocacy that brings together expertise from diverse perspectives to re-examine all that we have believed to be “true” about suicide prevention. Critical suicidologists question the highly medicalized framework of understanding a suicidal person and see suicide in context by understanding how other frameworks — like social justice — expand our imagination on what is possible in prevention, intervention and postvention.

In this conversation with Jess Stohlmann-Rainey, we talk about the ways traditional efforts in suicide prevention have failed us including:

Forced treatment

Fear-based approaches of restraint and isolation

Trying to predict suicide risk

And instead explore alternative, creative and upstream approaches to suicide prevention such as transformative justice work, mutual aid peer support, and accountability in making reparations for histories of harm done to communities.

About Jess Stohlmann-Rainey
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Jess Stohlmann-Rainey (she/her) loves to talk about suicide. She is a mad, queer care worker serving as the Director of Program Development at Rocky Mountain Crisis Partners in so-called Denver [land stolen from the Arapaho, Cheyenne, Núu-agha-t?v?-p?? (Ute), O?héthi Šakówi? (Sioux)]. She has focused her career on creating pathways to intersectional, justice-based, emotional support for marginalized communities. Jess centers her lived expertise as an ex-patient and suicide attempt survivor in her work. Her work can be found in Mad in America, Radical Abolitionist, No Restraints with Rudy Caseres, Mental Illness Research, Education and Clinical Centers, Postvention in Action: The International Handbook of Suicide Bereavement, Crisis, and The Suicide Prevention Resource Center. She has been featured in USA Today and People Magazine, and her story can be found on Live Through This. She collaborates on an irreverant video podcast situation called Suicide ‘n’ Stuff with Dese’Rae Stage. Jess holds the Lived Experience seat on Colorado’s Suicide Prevention Commission, and was the winner of the 2019 American Association of Suicidology Transforming Lived Experience Award, the 2019 Cookie Gant and Bill Compton LGBTQIA Leadership Award for Excellence in Promoting Diversity and Inclusion Award, and chairs the Paul G Quinnett Lived Experience Writing Competition. She lives with her partner (Jon), housemate (Isaac), and chihuahua (Chunk), and has a taxidermied two headed duckling (Phil & Lil) for an office mate.

Psychosocial Hazards on the Job — Listening to the Voices of Suicidal Workers: Interview with Professor Sarah Waters | Episode 70

Can Employers be Held Accountable for Driving Workers to Suicidal Despair?
Waters, S. (2020). Suicide Voices: Labour Trauma in France. Liverpool University Press. https://www.liverpooluniversitypress.co.uk/books/id/53177/
Waters, S. (2020). Suicide Voices: Labour Trauma in France. Liverpool University Press. https://www.liverpooluniversitypress.co.uk/books/id/53177/

Internationally, over the last few years, there has been increased interest in work-related suicide deaths. No longer are suicides considered the sole result of an individual’s mental health condition. Currently, researchers have linked suicide death and suicidal despair to a toxic working conditions and job strain, including the following psychosocial hazards:

Job Design Challenges

Low job control — lack of decision-making power and limited ability to try new things

Excessive job demands and constant pressure/overtime

Effort-reward imbalance — related to perceived insufficient financial compensation, respect or status

Job insecurity — perceived threat of job loss and anxiety about that threat

Lack of job autonomy

Lack of job variety

Toxic work-design elements (e.g., exposure to environmental aspects that cause pain or illness)

Toxic Interpersonal Relationships

Bullying, harassment and hazing at work

Prejudice and discrimination at work

Lack of supervisor of collegial support — poor working relationships

Family Disruption

Work-family conflict (i.e., work demands make family responsibilities more difficult)

Family-work conflict (i.e., family demands make work role challenging)

Lack of Purpose or Connection to Mission

Heightened job dissatisfaction and the feeling of being “trapped”

Work is not meaningful or rewarding

Other Work-Related Health Impacts

Work-related trauma (e.g., personal or seeing and accident or injury)

Work-related sleep disruption (e.g., due to unexpected overtime, extended or changing shifts)

Work culture of poor self-care and destructive coping (e.g., alcohol and drug use)

In this podcast, I have the honor of interviewing Professor Sarah Waters from the UK. She is a leading global researcher on the topic of work-related suicides, and a driver of legislation to improve working conditions and help make suicide prevention a health and safety priority at work. Here we discuss a number of large employers who have been held accountable for the suicide deaths of their employees in criminal court.

About Professor Sarah Waters

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Sarah Waters is Professor of French Studies at the University of Leeds, UK. Her research focuses on work-related suicide in France and across the international stage and seeks to understand the complex connections that link contemporary working conditions with the extreme and subjective act of suicide. Her book, Suicide Voices. Labour Trauma in France was published by Liverpool University Press in September 2020.

In her book, Sarah examines testimonial material linked to 66 suicide cases across three large French corporations. She examines ‘suicide voices’ considering how workers themselves describe the circumstances that led them to such desperate extremes in the letters, emails and recordings they leave behind. Why at the present historical juncture do conditions of work push some individuals to take their own lives? What can suicide letters tell us about the contemporary economic order and its impact on flesh and blood bodies? How do suicidal individuals describe the causes and motivations of their act?

Alongside her research, Sarah actively campaigns to improve workplace legislation in order to recognise and monitor work-related suicides. She is part of the trade union Hazards campaign in the UK that lobbies the Health and Safety Executive

She lives in Leeds and is a mother of two teenage boys.

Suicide in a Global Context — Perspectives from the President of the International Association for Suicide Prevention: Interview with Dr. M

Global Trends in Suicide Prevention
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I have the tremendous privilege of traveling internationally to do the work of suicide prevention and suicide grief support. On hand, it’s very humbling to see how this tragedy shows up all over the globe. On the other hand, it’s very inspiring to see how different countries and cultures find innovative approaches to address suicide. In this podcast, I interview the current President of the International Association for Suicide Prevention, Professor Murad Khan. We discuss some of the important cultural and social determinants of suicide as we look at why some countries’ suicide rates are going down, and why others — like the United States — are going up. We also share a number of ways that we can regain our humanity in a global cooperation effort in suicide prevention.

About Dr. Murad M. Khan
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Dr. Murad M Khan, MBBS, MRCPsych, CCST, PhD is Professor Emeritus, Dept. of Psychiatry at the Aga Khan University, Karachi, Pakistan. He is also Associate Faculty at the Center for Bioethics & Culture (CBEC), Karachi. He received his psychiatric and research training in the UK. He is a member of the Royal College of Psychiatrists & obtained his PhD from King’s College, University of London.

Prof. Khan is current President of the International Association for Suicide Prevention (IASP) and leads organization’s global suicide prevention strategy. He has published widely on suicidal behavior in Pakistan and developing countries, focusing on epidemiology and socio-cultural and religious factors in suicide and self-harm.

His other research and clinical interests include mental health of women and elderly, medical and organizational ethics and narrative medicine.

Building Bridges at the Crossroads of Suicide Prevention — Leadership Call to Action: Interview with Dr. Jonathan Singer | Episode 68

Leadership is tested during times of crisis, controversy and social unrest. The best leaders rise to the occasion and can create opportunities for meaningful and lasting change. In the world of suicide prevention, voices of activists are challenging established ways of doing things, and in many ways the field is at a crossroads. Many are finding themselves re-examining the questions and methods of our research, the protocols of some of our “treatments” and crisis services, and the systemic racism and other social determinants of suicide that have not received enough attention.

In this interview, I have the honor of interviewing Dr. Jonathan Singer, the current President of the American Association of Suicidology, who has weathered many transitions and challenges during his leadership tenure with grace and significant impact. He shares his story of how he became the leader he is today and invites others to find their voices to change the field to be more inclusive and effective.

About Dr. Jonathan Singer
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Jonathan B. Singer, Ph.D., LCSW is Associate Professor of Social Work at Loyola University Chicago. He is a two-time winner of the National Association of Social Workers Media Award in 2012 and 2016. He was a 2014 Visiting Scholar at Fordham University, the 2017 Lucille N. Austin Scholar at Columbia University, and the 2018 Distinguished Lecturer at Weber State University. He is the President of the American Association of Suicidology and coauthor of the 2015 Routledge text, Suicide in Schools: A Practitioner’s Guide to Multi-level Prevention, Assessment, Intervention, and Postvention.

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Dr. Singer is a well-regarded international speaker who has given hundreds of continuing education workshops, keynote addresses, and presentations on youth suicide, ethics, technology, adolescent development and attachment-based family therapy in the USA, Latin America, and Europe. He is the author of over 65 publications and his research has been featured in national and international media outlets like NPR, BBC, Fox, Time Magazine, and The Guardian. He is an NASW Expert, Healio Psychiatry Peer Perspective Board member, and on several national youth advisory boards including Sandy Hook Promise and the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. A pioneer in the integration of technology and social work, Dr. Singer is a founding member of the online suicide prevention social media community #SPSM; the Treasurer for the international human services Information Technology association (http://husita.org/); and co-lead for the Social Work Grand Challenge initiative “Harness Technology for Social Good.”

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Dr. Singer is the founder and host of the award-winning Social Work Podcast (www.socialworkpodcast.com), the first podcast by and for social workers. The Social Work Podcast has over 38,000 followers on social media, listeners in 208 countries and territories, and a million podcast episode downloads per year. He lives in Evanston, IL with his wife and three children and can be found on Twitter as @socworkpodcast and Facebook at facebook.com/swpodcast. for mpre information go to https://www.sallyspencerthomas.com/hope-illuminated-podcast/68

Storytelling in Community — Lifting Up the Voices of People with Lived Experience: Interview with Jennifer Marshall | Episode 67

“Storytelling is the water of human communication…”

(Bayer & Hettinger, 2019, p. 4)

“Neither revolution nor reformation can ultimately change a society, rather you must tell a more powerful tale, one so persuasive that it sweeps away the old myths and becomes the preferred story…”

~Ivan Illich

Our individual narratives are “building blocks” for our collectively shared representations of the past and our projections for the future. When our stories collide and reconcile with one another on an interpersonal level, they start to illuminate the nuances of underlying themes and concerns, especially among marginalized groups like those impacted by mental health conditions, suicide loss and suicidal intensity.

“Even though storytelling is a traditional means of delivering knowledge, wisdom and culture, it has a central role in social movements because it constructs agency, shapes identity and motivates action.” (p. 2, Prasetyo, 2017).

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Community activism is built on a cycle of trust, undergirded by stories. Synergy is achieved by weaving together purpose-driven and authentic voices that together represent a community as a whole. When the collection of stories is shared publicly, the advocates have an easier time enrolling others into the movement. When people listen to stories, communities are formed and pull together. Shared experiences become a profound source of validation and consolidation of learning. We are co-constructed by relationships in the community and the stories that arise as a result.

It is no wonder, then, that a number of collective storytelling initiatives about suicide prevention and mental health promotion have emerged, including “This is My Brave.” In this interview I interview Jennifer Marshall, founder of this nonprofit storytelling organization.

About Jennifer Marshall
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Jennifer Marshall is the co-Founder/Executive Director of This Is My Brave, Inc., the nonprofit platform for individuals to share their story of overcoming mental illness through creative expression. This Is My Brave held its first show in 2014. Since then, the organization has produced 70 shows across the US featuring over 825 individuals who’ve shared their stories on stage in front of a live audience. Jennifer gave a TEDx talk in October of 2016 entitled “Mental Illness: Being Brave Saves Lives.” In June of 2018 Jennifer was awarded the prestigious Clifford W. Beers Award by Mental Health America. In December 2018 Jennifer was named Washingtonian of the Year by Washingtonian Magazine

The “How” of Suicide — Why the “Means Matter”: Interview with Catherine Barber, Elaine Frank & Shelby Kuhn | Episode 66

Very often in the world of suicide prevention we fall — as Frank Campbell says — into the “canyon of why.” Why did they take their life? Why didn’t they tell someone? Why, why, why. We often over look that question “how”. On this podcast a panel of our nation’s leaders on reducing access to lethal means tell us why the “means matter” in suicide prevention. They share innovative and effective collaborative strategies that help non-clinical people negotiate how to keep their homes safer from the tragedy of suicide. These strategies are based in a public-health approach and evolving partnerships with firearm owners, retailers and advocates. At the core of their success is a process of building bridges through mutual respect and shared values.

About the Presenters
Catherine Barber, MPA
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Catherine Barber is a senior researcher at the Harvard School of Public Health’s Injury Research Center where she led the effort to design and test the pilot for what is now the CDC’s National Violent Death Reporting System. She is the founding director of Means Matter, a project to disseminate research and interventions on reducing a suicidal person’s access to highly lethal suicide methods. Recent work focuses on collaborating with gun owner groups on suicide prevention projects. In this area, she wrote a suicide prevention module used by over 1,000 firearm instructors nationwide, was one of the founders of the first Gun Shop Project, co-authored the original CALM-Online training, and co-PI’d a large clinical trial of lethal means counseling in the emergency department. She is the recipient of the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention’s Allies in Action Lifetime Achievement Award.

Elaine Frank, MHS
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Elaine Frank is an Injury Prevention and Public Health professional who has focused her work for the past ten years at the intersection of Firearm Safety and Suicide Prevention. She is the co-developer of CALM – Counseling on Access to Lethal Means – and the Co-chair of the NH Firearm Safety Coalition that created the Gun Shop Project and other efforts to engage the firearm community in preventing suicide. Ms. Frank earned a Master of Health Sciences at Johns Hopkins School of Hygiene and Public Health where she learned how and why to collaborate in order to address complex issues.

Shelby Kuhn, MSW, LCSW, SAC
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Shelby Kuhn, MSW, LCSW, SAC, is a senior project associate with the Zero Suicide Institute, focusing on the implementation of suicide-specific care in health and behavioral health settings. In this role, she delivers training and consultation to improve care and outcomes for individuals at risk for suicide and extends Zero Suicide practice across diverse settings.

Kuhn holds a master’s degree in Social Work from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She completed a postgraduate fellowship at the Yale Child Study Center, a department of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry at the Yale School of Medicine, receiving specialized training in clinical practice with children and families. She has more than 10 years’ experience in direct clinical practice and program management working with high-risk behavioral health populations

Workplace Suicide Prevention Training: Interview with Gabriela Malafaia | Episode 65

The workplace is arguably the most cross-cutting system in suicide prevention. Just about everyone who dies by suicide or attempts suicide was working, was recently working, or has a close friend or family member who is working. Thus, just like we promote CPR training at our job sites to save lives, we should also consider on-going, skill developing suicide prevention training programs. In this presentation I interview Gabriela Malafaia, a leader in People’s Management in the oil and gas industry. We discuss the many reasons why workplace suicide prevention training is the right thing to do and list several best practices to leverage a tiered approach. Sharing a number of case studies, we conclude that successful training initiatives not only improve the confidence and competence of a workforce dedicated to making suicide prevention a health and safety priority, impactful training actually helps drive a caring culture.

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About Gabriela Malafaia
Gabriela Malafaia is a psychologist who has been working in the oil and gas industry for the past 9 years. Her main field of activity is workers health, especially focused in mental health in the workplace. She has a postgraduate degree in an expert in Workers’ Health (UFF, Brazil) and she is a mental health advocate with great expertise in employee assistance programs, workplace training, organizational psychology, mental health promotion and suicide prevention, intervention and postvention activities. For more information on this episode go to sallyspencerthomas.com/hope-illuminated-podcast/65

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