Promoting Connectedness to Prevent Suicide

General Webinar
Date:  February 28, 2013 - 3:00 pm to 4:30 pm (America/New_York)

For information, contact:

  Dominique Lieu

Evaluations of interventions directed toward preventing suicidal behavior have shown that promoting connectedness is a promising suicide prevention strategy. Connectedness to others, including family members, teachers, coworkers, community organizations, and social institutions, is an important protective factor. Positive relationships can help increase a person’s sense of belonging, foster a sense of personal worth, and provide access to sources of support.

During this webinar, participants will learn why and how the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention made connectedness promotion a central focus of its suicide prevention efforts. In addition, presenters will describe programs that have promoted connectedness within specific populations including: older adults, American Indians and Alaska Natives, and African American youth. 

By the end of the webinar participants will:

  1. Recognize the rationale for promoting connectedness as a suicide prevention strategy
  2. Define factors that can increase connectedness in various settings
  3. Identify ways to implement this suicide prevention strategy within their own communities

Additional resources to be referenced during the webinar:

Event Presenter(s)


Deb Stone, ScD, MSW, MPH, Behavioral Scientist, Division of Violence Prevention, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Sean Joe, PhD, LMSW, Associate Professor, School of Social Work and Department of Psychiatry, University of Michigan

Kimberly Van Orden, PhD, Assistant Professor, Department of Psychiatry, University of Rochester Medical Center

Dolores Subia BigFoot, PhD, (Enrolled Member-Caddo Nation of Oklahoma), Assistant Professor, Department of Pediatrics, University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center

Presenter Biographies: 

Dolores Subia BigFoot, PhD, is an enrolled member of the Caddo Nation of Oklahoma and an Assistant Professor in the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center. She directs the Indian Country Child Trauma Center, part of the National Child Traumatic Stress Network, and provides consultation, training, and technical assistance to tribal, state, and federal agencies on child maltreatment, child trauma, and cultural issues. Dr. BigFoot is recognized for bringing traditional and spiritual practices and beliefs into the formal teaching and instruction of American Indian people and professionals working with Indigenous populations. Some of her accomplishments include directing Project Making Medicine, a national clinical training program built on the cultural adaptations of evidence based interventions; developing an American Indian parent training program, and authoring publications on topics ranging from child protection to cross cultural training for the Indian Health Service, Bureau of Indian Affairs, and Department of Justice. She also provides clinical services in treatment of adolescent sex offenders and Parent Child Interaction Therapy.

Kim Van Orden, PhD, is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Rochester Medical Center. She received her PhD in clinical psychology from Florida State University, with an emphasis on interpersonal processes in suicidal behavior, and completed a postdoctoral research fellowship at the University of Rochester focused on geriatric mental health. Her research addresses the role of social connectedness in the etiology and prevention of late-life suicide, in particular, applying the Interpersonal Theory of Suicide to understand the mechanisms of late-life suicide prevention. She is co-author of the book, The Interpersonal Theory of Suicide: Guidance for Working with Suicidal Clients, and is the Project Director and Co-Investigator on an on-going randomized trial of peer companionship for older adults that examines social connectedness as a mechanism for reducing suicide risk.  Dr. Van Orden maintains an active clinical practice providing cognitive behavioral therapy and interpersonal psychotherapy to older adults.

Sean Joe, PhD, LMSW, holds a joint position as Associate Professor in the School of Social Work and Department of Psychiatry at the University of Michigan’s School of Medicine. He is the Founder and Director of the Emerging Scholars Interdisciplinary Network (ESIN) and the Associate Director for Research and Training at the Program for Research on Black Americans at the Institute for Social Research.  Dr. Joe’s current research focuses on the role of religion in Black American suicidal behavior, adolescent mental health service use patterns, and salivary biomarkers for adolescent suicidal behavior. He has published in the areas of suicide, violence, and firearm-related violence.  Dr. Joe also serves on the scientific advisory board of the National Organization of People of Color Against Suicide, and co-chairs ESIN’S Working Group on Race, Culture, and Suicide, a national interdisciplinary group of researchers committed to advancing suicide research on populations of color. Dr. Joe is the 2009 recipient of the Edwin Shneidman Award from the American Association of Suicidology, the 2008 recipient of the Early Career Achievement Award from the Society for Social Work and Research, and was inducted as a Fellow of the New York Academy of Medicine and the 2012 Roundtable on Science in Social Work.

Deborah M. Stone, ScD, MSW, MPH, serves as a Behavioral Scientist in the Division of Violence Prevention at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.  She received her doctoral degree from the Harvard School of Public Health, a joint Master’s degree in social work and public health, and a Bachelor’s degree in psychology from the University of Michigan. As a fellow in the CDC’s Public Health Prevention Service, Dr. Stone worked for two years at the Rhode Island Department of Health where she led efforts to develop the first statewide strategy for youth suicide prevention. From 2001-2007, she served as Project Director for the federally-funded National Center for Suicide Prevention Training, developing online suicide prevention workshops for health and mental health officials, providers, and community based coalitions. From 2007 to 2010, Dr. Stone consulted on suicide prevention with the Massachusetts Department of Public Health. Her research interests include the role of social connectedness in suicide prevention, and risk and protective factors of suicidal behavior among sexual minority youth.


Webinar Recording

To live to see the great day that dawns: Preventing suicide by American Indian and Alaska Native youth and young adults

Webinar Presentation