Suicide is a growing public health issue among adolescents and young adults. Due to discrimination, stigma, and experiences of rejection, LGBTQ+ youth are disproportionately affected by suicide. While the majority of LGBTQ+ youth are healthy, resilient and have strong support systems, many experience significant distress without support. The purpose of this webinar is to provide family therapists with an introduction to the knowledge and skills needed to approach this clinical population with a balance of sensitivity, humility, and self-assuredness. First, two theories will be presented to explain the disproportionate rates of suicide among LGBTQ+ youth. Next, a brief review of prominent risk and protective factors will be described. Finally, treatment approaches, designed or adapted for LGBTQ+ youth, will be discussed and illustrated with case examples. Special attention will be paid to systemic models targeting suicidality.
Dr. Jody Russon is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Human Development and Family Science at Virginia Tech and a core faculty member in the MFT PhD Program. She is a translational scientist and family therapist contributing to psychotherapy and suicide research, particularly for LGBTQ+ youth. Dr. Russon’s line of research focuses on the adaptation, dissemination and implementation (AD&I) of relationship-based, suicide interventions and prevention strategies. Dr. Russon is also an AAMFT Approved Supervisor and a certified supervisor and trainer in Attachment-Based Family Therapy.