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Talks at Twelve: Janis Whitlock

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Helping Parents Help Their Teens: Lessons Learned about Parent Stress and Support from Research on Self-injury and Families
Thursday, November 12, 2015

Janis Whitlock
BCTR, Cornell University

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Whitlock quoted on self-injury in US News & World Report

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Misconceptions and misinformation about self-injury can keep sufferers from getting care and effect how they are treated by others. A recent US News & World Report article addresses some common myths about self-injury, including that self-injurers are suicidal, that self-injury is uncommon, and that the behavior is untreatable.

0089_12_140.jpgJanis Whitlock, director of the BCTR's Cornell Research Program on Self-Injury and Recovery, was quoted in the section dispelling the misconception about self-injurers necessarily being suicidal:

If someone becomes suicidal, then the act of having engaged in self-injury does psychologically prepare them to damage their body. That piece, for somebody who's never hurt their body before, is not easy. We have a lot of inner safeguards, psychologically, from taking our own lives. Somebody who really wants to commit suicide is going to have to overcome that. And somebody with self-injury has already practiced hurting themselves that way.

The article includes nine myths about self-injury in all.

Myths and facts about self-injury - US News & World Report

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ACT for Youth supports sex education and positive youth development at Provider Day


Attendees at Provider Day

Attendees at Provider Day
Photo by Brian Maley

This September, the ACT for Youth Center of Excellence (COE) sponsored Provider Day 2014, a professional development conference for 224 teen pregnancy prevention program staff from communities across New York State. The COE provides technical assistance, training, and evaluation for three pregnancy prevention initiatives funded by the New York State Department of Health. Sex educators and youth service professionals from each initiative came together in Albany to share and gain new insights, strategies, and tools to promote healthy development among youth.

The evening before Provider Day, the BCTR hosted a reception that set a warm and collegial tone. Jane Powers and John Eckenrode opened the day’s events, and BCTR staff offered workshops on a range of topics, including Self-Care and Youth Work (Heather Wynkoop Beach and Michele Luc), Youth with Mental Health Concerns (Jutta Dotterweich), Using Evaluation Data (Mary Maley and Amanda Purington), and Life Purpose and Teens (Janis Whitlock), among others.

One participant wrote,

I found the day valuable and validating. I believe we need all the validation we can get when working in this field. It's not easy, and when we can recharge and gain new knowledge and tools, I know that I come back to the office looking for ways to use the information I have gotten. Thank you!

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In the media: Evidence-based mental health therapy?

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"The New York Times’ Well Blog has a fascinating post this week on why mental health therapists do not consistently use evidence-based techniques in treating their patients.

"The post cites a meta-analysis conducted in 2009 that found patients rarely received evidence-based psychological treatments. And when patients do receive them, they are often not implemented as well as they should be."

Read more at the Evidence-Based Living blog:

In the media: Evidence-based mental health therapy?

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The evidence on yoga and the mind

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A new systematic review discussed in an Evidenced-Based Living blog post examines yoga's effect on the mind and on certain mental illnesses.

The evidence on yoga and the mind

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Talks at Twelve: Natalie Bazarova, Dan Cosley, & Janis Whitlock, Thursday, May 23, 2013


Mental Health Disclosure on Social Networking Sites
Natalie Bazarova, Dan Cosley, & Janis Whitlock

Thursday, May 23, 2013
Beebe Hall, 2nd floor conference room

This talk is open to all. Lunch will be served. Metered parking is available in the Plantations lot across the road from Beebe Hall.

This is a BCTR Innovative Pilot Study Grant recipient talk.

Natalie Bazarova, Communications
Dan Cosley, Information Science
Janis Whitlock, BCTR

In this talk, we will describe ongoing research aimed at understanding how mental health states – specifically, recent or current psychological distress – affect self-disclosure on social networking sites. Our studies seek to establish the association between mental health states and disclosure patterns by comparing disclosure content, language style, and motivation between two groups: people at risk (i.e., those with depression and/or a history of a non-suicidal self-injury), and those with no mental health history. We hope that theoretical advances around online mental health disclosure will improve well being and mental health by providing new ways to identify individuals at risk for depression and developing interventions that encourage them to seek help and counseling.

Natalie Bazarova is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Communication, Cornell University. Her research examines social interactions mediated by communication and information technology in dyads, groups, and networks, with a particular emphasis on self-disclosure and relational communication. Among her research interests are disclosure and privacy in social media, attributional judgments, virtual groups, personal relationships, and intercultural collaboration. Natalie's work has appeared in Human Communication Research, Communication Yearbook, Communication Research, and Small Group Research, and has been recognized by several top paper awards from national and international communication conferences.

Dan Cosley is an assistant professor in Information Science at Cornell University whose research focus is around human-computer interaction and social media. His high-level research goal is to build systems that leverage people's pre-existing behavior in digital media to create new individual and social goods. These include SuggestBot, a recommender system that uses Wikipedia editing behavior and link structure to help contributors find articles they are interested in and that the community has marked as needing work; and Pensieve, a system that reminds people to reminisce and write about the past by sending them prompts based on content they have created in social media. This work is supported by a 2009 NSF CAREER grant. Along the way, Dr. Cosley has studied a number of domains, including recommender systems, tagging, mobile interaction, museum informatics, and online communities. He values interdisciplinary research, sees research experience as a core component of undergraduate as well as graduate education, and prefers work that makes contributions both to academia and to society more broadly. He received his Ph.D. in Computer Science in 2006 from the University of Minnesota under the guidance of advisors John Riedl and Loren Terveen.

Janis Whitlock is a Research Scientist in the BCTR and the Director of the Cornell Research Program on Self-Injurious Behavior in Adolescence and Young Adults. She is the author of publications on non-suicidal self-injury in adolescence and young adulthood as well as in youth connectedness to schools and communities. In addition to research, Dr. Whitlock has worked in adolescent and women’s health in a variety of clinical, administrative, and education-related capacities for over a decade. Her current research focus includes development of early detection and intervention in mental health and wellbeing for youth in college and community settings, recovery from self-injurious behaviors, parental influence in and experience of young people's self-injury and suicidality, the relationship between connectedness and self-injury and suicide behaviors, and development and evaluation of interventions for youth and parents of self-injurious youth. Dr.Whitlock earned a doctorate in Developmental Psychology from Cornell University (2003) and a Masters of Public Health from UNC Chapel Hill (1994).


Talks at Twelve: Peter A. Wyman, Thursday, October 11, 2012

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Suicide Prevention Delivered by High School Peer Leaders: Phases of Research Evaluating the Sources of Strength Intervention
Peter A. Wyman, University of Rochester

Thursday, October 11, 2012
Beebe Hall, 2nd floor conference room

Lunch will be served. This talk is open to all. Metered parking is available in the Plantations lot across the road from Beebe Hall.

Peer opinion leaders are used widely in prevention of substance abuse and HIV risk behaviors but not yet in suicide prevention. This talk will describe the rationale for Sources of Strength, which trains diverse student peer leaders to change social-ecological protective factors associated with reduced suicidal behavior at a high school population level, working with adult mentors. Several phases of research will be described including an initial trial testing the concept, a study testing alternative peer leader messaging activities with peer groups, and an ongoing trial funded by NIMH involving 34 high schools and 14,000 high school students that includes extensive social network analysis.

Peter A. Wyman, PhD, is Professor, Department of Psychiatry, University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry, and Director of the School and Community-Based Prevention Laboratory. Wyman's primary focus is developing and testing community-based preventive interventions designed to strengthen well-being in children and adolescents, particularly those underserved by traditional mental health services.

The paper associated with this talk: An Outcome Evaluation of the Sources of Strength Suicide Prevention Program Delivered by Adolescent Peer Leaders in High Schools

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