The BH-Works Suicide Prevention Program for Sexual and Gender Minority Youth: Setting the Groundwork for Engagement, Adaptation, and Implementation
The Virginia Tech Center for Humanities presents "Vox Humanities Conversations", a series of live-streamed discussions with Faculty Research Associates who will speak about their work. These conversations are free and open to the public and we invite anyone to join the online presentations.
Suicide is the second leading cause of death for 15-to-24-year-olds in the United States. Compared to their heterosexual and cisgender peers, sexual and gender minority (SGM) adolescents report significantly higher rates of suicidal ideation and suicide attempts, yet many barriers complicate the implementation of suicide prevention in SGM communities. SGM youth often report feeling unwelcome and misunderstood in traditional behavioral health service organizations. Consequently, treatment attendance and retention remain low. Instead, this population generally seeks mental health services in community organizations for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ+) youth. Unfortunately, these organizations are often unprepared for this clinical challenge. The Behavioral Health-Works (BH-Works) suicide risk management system may offer a potential solution to this problem. BH-Works is an evidence-based, comprehensive youth suicide prevention program that is currently used in schools, primary care offices, and other community-based settings.
In this conversation with the Center for Humanities Director, Sylvester Johnson, Dr. Russon discusses how her recently-funded NIMH R34 project seeks to adapt this program for LGBTQ organizations and evaluate both effectiveness and implementation outcomes. Specifically, Dr. Russon will describe how she is setting the groundwork for three project aims that focus on engagement, adaptation, and evaluating feasibility/acceptability. In closing, Dr. Russon will discuss how the current research responds to the growing national need to identify and refer vulnerable youth at risk for suicide.
Dr. Jody Russon, LMFT, is an assistant professor in the Department of Human Development and Family Science. She is a translational scientist contributing to the fields of family therapy and suicidology through community-engaged research. Her trajectory of research at Virginia Tech emphasizes the adaptation, dissemination and implementation (AD&I) of suicide interventions and prevention strategies.
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