Research & Scholarship

My research and scholarship can be sorted into two main areas: (1) Child and Youth Care and (2) Youth Suicide Prevention. With over 40 peer-reviewed publications – including two co-edited books with a high-quality academic press- an additional 23 professional publications and reports, and over 75 conference presentations (keynotes, invited talks and workshops), my work has reached a broad and diverse, international audience. I have also received over $600,000 in research grants as a PI or co-PI.

Child and Youth Care

My experience as a front-line Child and Youth Care practitioner, combined with my subsequent graduate education and professional experience, informed the development of my 2007 article, Knowing, Doing and Being: A Praxis-Oriented Approach to Child and Youth Care which stands out as one of the most significant contributions I have made to the field of Child and Youth Care, with over 87 citations (Google Scholar).

This article is a major intellectual contribution to the field of Child and Youth Care (CYC) and has been used as the basis for curriculum development in several undergraduate and graduate programs. It has also been reproduced as a chapter in the edited book, On the precipice: Expanding our creative potential: Inquiry beyond the edge of child and youth care practice (Ricks & Bellefeuille, 2008), published by Grant MacEwan Press. It has been included as a required reading in several undergraduate and graduate courses in the School of Child and Youth Care.  The theoretical framework developed in this article has also been used  to guide the work of the  Child and Youth Care Education Consortium of BC (CYCECBC) since 2010. The Consortium has representation from all university and college programs in BC and is responsible for the development, coordination and evaluation of core curriculum for Child and Youth Care (CYC) post-secondary education in British Columbia. The article has also been integrated into other CYC course undergraduate and graduate curricula across the country attesting to its impact nationally.

Since the publication of that article, I have written two subsequent articles, both of which aim to theorize the field of Child and Youth Care more deeply. The 2015 article, An Ethos for the Times: Difference, Imagination and the Unknown Future in Child and Youth Care, started out as a keynote address for the 2014 Child and Youth Care in Action conference, and was later developed into a published article. The ideas developed in this article were meant to situate our field in the 21st century, recognize the inherently politicized nature of our practice, and to push the field beyond familiar individualized and psychological formulations. This article is a required reading in one of the MA courses in the School of Child and Youth Care. It has also been an important touchstone for the  Child and Youth Care Education Consortium of BC (CYCECBC) and their recently updated “Model for Core Curriculum and Related Outcomes to Inform Child and Youth Care Education in British Columbia” (2018).   This particular article is extensively cited throughout the CYCEBC document, attesting to its timeliness, relevance, and influence in shaping the field of Child and Youth Care. Two years later (2017), I co-authored the article Risking Attachments in Teaching Child and Youth Care in Twenty First Century Settler Colonial, Environmental, and Biotechnical Worlds, with PhD student, Scott Kouri, and CYC colleague. Veronica Pacini-Ketchabaw. The purpose of this article was to engage with the complexities of teaching CYC in our current context of neoliberal capitalism and settler colonialism. We describe some of our pedagogical efforts to support CYC students to respond with care to individual and family need and suffering, while at the same time, engaging with the very structures that perpetuate harm and violence in our society.  This work not only furthers the goals of the academic discipline of Child and Youth Care, but it also directly responds to one of the key strategic directions of the University of Victoria, which is to foster respect and reconciliation and create more respectful educational and research partnerships with Indigenous peoples.

As further evidence of my contribution to advancing the academic discipline of Child and Youth Care, I co-edited the book, Child and Youth Care: Critical Perspectives on Pedagogy, Practice, and Policy with Dr. Alan Pence in 2012. This book provided a unique opportunity for graduate PhD students in the Child and Youth Care program to contribute chapters, alongside new and emerging scholars in the field of Child and Youth Care. The edited volume, with its critical re-appraisal of foundational concepts in the field, represents a significant text in the field of Child and Youth Care. It has been used as a course text in our doctoral program for several years now. It stands apart from other textbooks in the field of Child and Youth Care for the way in which it productively critiques Euro-western, modernist assumptions about children, development, ethics and care.  By recognizing a range of social and political
influences on children and youth, this volume represents an important critical turn in the field of Child and Youth Care.

Youth Suicide Prevention

I have been actively involved in the field of youth suicide prevention locally, nationally and internationally for 30 years. I have worked in a number of different professional roles, including: clinical counsellor, policy consultant, researcher, community developer, and educator. In 2004 I received the Canadian Association for Suicide Prevention (CASP) Service Award in recognition of my leadership and contributions to the practice of youth suicide prevention. I am considered a leader in the field of youth suicide prevention and have written a number of policy documents and practice guidelines for working with suicidal youth for the BC Ministry for Child and Family Development.

I am also one of the leading scholars and original founders of the Critical Suicide Studies Network. This is a international network of scholars, practitioners, and those with lived experience of suicide, who are dedicated to exploring alternatives to biomedical approaches to suicide prevention.

As a scholar, I am keenly interested in studying contemporary discourses of youth suicide prevention. Through critically informed, relational approaches to inquiry, I am interested in exploring alternatives to the standardized, expert-driven, one-size-fits-all, risk factor based approach to youth suicide prevention. The idea is not to replace current approaches to prevention, but rather to expand our understandings and vocabularies and allow multiple possibilities and approaches to proliferate.

From 2008-2011, I was the Principal Investigator on a qualitative study, Collaborating for Youth Suicide Prevention. The study was funded by the Vancouver Foundation, the Victoria Foundation, and the Andrew Mahon Foundation. I funded a graduate student to work with me as a Research Assistant on this study, and he drew on the data we generated as part of his Master’s thesis. The purpose of this study was to closely document how school-based suicide prevention education programs are conceptualized and implemented within two secondary school settings in British Columbia.  We examined how school-based youth suicide prevention programs get brought into being in “real world” classroom contexts. This approach to studying school-based suicide prevention programs was unique and represented a substantial and original contribution to the field.  Specifically, a narrow range of methodologies have traditionally been used to study school-based youth suicide prevention education programs which has hindered our ability to see the complexities and potentialities of this work.  With this contribution, I was able to show the possibilities for more contextualized understandings,  using a qualitative case study approach.  Two articles were published based on this study. First, Precarious Spaces: Risk, Responsibility and Uncertainty in School-Based Suicide Prevention was published in 2010. This article was very favorably reviewed and it was gratifying to see it published in such a high quality, international journal, Social Science & Medicine. A second article, Collaborative Knowledge Making in the Everyday Practice of Youth Suicide Prevention, was published in 2011 in the International Journal of Qualitative Studies in Education.

Between 2011 and 2013, I co-hosted two very successful knowledge exchange events on the topic of suicide prevention at the University of Victoria. In 2011, a two-day symposium entitled Critically Reflecting on Discourses of Prevention: Suicide, Substance Use and Mental Health featured a series of speakers and thought leaders in the field. The event ,which utilized Open Space technology attracted 60 participants including students, researchers, practitioners and policy-makers. Feedback on the event was overwhelmingly positive.

Building on the success of the first symposium, a second one-day event was held in April, 2013. This sold-out event was entitled “Youth Suicide Prevention in BC: Invigorating the Dialogue.” The aim was to provide a forum for looking closely at how we ‘do’ youth suicide prevention in this province. We asked questions about who our efforts might be benefiting and who (or what) might be left out. We consulted with professionals, survivors who had lost a child to suicide, as well as young people themselves. We used a graphic facilitator to record the ongoing proceedings. We interviewed young people about their understandings of suicide, distress, and healing. The feedback was overwhelmingly positive. Many of the ideas and practices from this symposium make visible my scholarly interests and commitments, including the engagement of young people as knowledgeable consultants, the experimentation with arts-based representations, and the design of a highly participatory knowledge exchange process.

With the publication of Youth Suicide as a Wild Problem in 2012, my scholarly work begins to be more explicitly critical of the mainstream approach to studying suicide (suicidology) and I begin to publish more theoretical articles, blogs, and book chapters that expose some of the limitations of a narrow, biomedical approach to suicide prevention, giving birth to the emergence of a critical suicidology movement, as well as an edited volume published by UBC Press.

As a way to create a platform for sharing cutting edge research, including graduate student scholarship, on the topic of youth suicide prevention, and to draw more links between youth suicide prevention and the broader field of Child and Youth Care, I co-edited a special issue of the International Journal of Child, Youth and Family Studies on Youth Suicide Prevention: Research, Policy and Practice. For this special issue, I co-authored an article with a graduate student, entitled Thinking the Other Side of Suicide: Engagements with Life. In 2015, I was deeply honored to be invited to contribute a chapter to the Handbook of Qualitative Health Research for Evidence-Based Practice  The main purpose of this chapter was to bring to light the significant contributions that qualitative researchers have made to the evidence base on suicidal behaviours and suicide prevention.

In 2017, I co-edited a special issue of Death Studies on Critical Suicidology and wrote an article for this issue, that begins to articulate the specific contribution that a critical approach can make to productively transforming the field of suicide prevention. I also currently have a chapter in the  forthcoming edited book Suicide and Social Justice: New Perspectives on the Politics of Suicide and Suicide Prevention (Routledge). In a testament to the international impact of my work, these more recent scholarly contributions have led to an invitation to give a keynote address, and two workshops at a February, 2019 conference hosted by the Hong Kong Council of Social Services. This is a federation of approximately 400 member agencies, providing 90% of the social welfare services in Hong Kong. I have also been invited to give a presentation on critical suicidology to the students and faculty in the Counseling and Social Change program, San Diego State University, in the Spring of 2019.

Current work

Working as part of a research team, in collaboration with Indigenous scholars, leaders, elders and youth, I am currently co-leading a project, with Dr. Ed Connors called Wise Practices for Life Promotion and Suicide Prevention that is funded by the First Nations and Inuit Health Branch (FNIHB), Indigenous Services Canada. This project seeks to curate a series of wise practices for promoting life based on what is already working and/or showing promise in First Nations communities across the country. The final online resource has been designed to be culturally relevant and responsive to the lived realities of young people and all who are invested in wellness for First Nations youth.The intention is to honour and give credit to what is already happening in communities in all regions of Canada, and to draw links and connections among them for mutual benefit. This project aims to both be informed by, and eventually inform, a range of projects and resources related to the promotion of life, resilience and well being among First Nations youth.

I recently collaborated with Dr. Patti Ranahan (Concordia University) on an ethnographic study that examines the implementation processes surrounding a provincial suicide prevention gatekeeper training initiative in British Columbia. This project was funded by the Canadian Mental Health Association-BC Region.  By documenting the implementation process as it unfolds, mapping unexpected outcomes, identifying constraints and opportunities, and illuminating multiple and competing perspectives, we aim to make an important contribution to the literature on suicide prevention.  We have presented our preliminary findings at national and international conferences, and have several manuscripts in progress.  Based on our preliminary analysis, we suggest that  implementing gatekeeper training, as a policy response to suicide, is not natural or self-evident. Instead, it is a product of ongoing historical and social relations that are designed to persuade others (i.e. make the case) that this is the right course of action. Further, we noted that a strong and consistent emphasis on “selling”  suicide prevention gatekeeper training revealed that the marketization of suicide prevention is a contemporary reality that cannot be understood outside our current neoliberal political context. Finally, accountability and monitoring practices, designed to chart progress towards the goals, were often re-configured as relational sites of meaning making where the negotiation of identities, values, and ethics unfolded in complex and surprising ways.

I was also recently awarded a collaborative research grant from Island Health (2019-2021) to conduct a “A Practice-Based Study of Youth and Family Counsellors’ Experience Working With Suicidal Youth.” The purpose of this project is to learn more about what Youth and Family Counsellors actually do to reduce risks for suicide among youth, the challenges and opportunities they face, and the organizational conditions that support them to be most effective in their work.

Peer Reviewed Journal Articles

Hillman, M., Dellebuur-O’Connor, K. & White, J (2020). Reckoning with our privilege in the CYC Classroom: De-Centering whiteness and teaching for social justice. International Journal of Child, Youth & Family Studies, 11(2), 40-60.

White, J. (2020). Suicidology is for cutting:  Epistemic injustice and decolonial critiques. Social Epistemology Reply Collective, 9 (5),75-81.

Pielle, R., Newbury, J. & White, J. (2020). The generative potential of love and reciprocity in project work. Relational Child and Youth Care Practice,33(4), 7-16.

White, J. & Morris, J. (2019). Re-thinking ethics and politics in suicide prevention: Bringing narrative ideas into dialogue with critical suicide studies. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 16, 3236. doi:10.3390/ijerph16183236

Ranahan, P. & White, J. (2019). Creating suicide-safer communities in British Columbia: A focused ethnography. Journal of Ethnographic and Qualitative Research, 14, 42-58.

White, J. (2017). What can critical suicidology do? Death Studies, 41(8), 472-480.

Kral, M., Morris, J. & White, J. (2017). Seeing suicidology in a new light. Death Studies, 41(8), 469-471.

White, J., Kouri, S. & Pacini-Ketchabaw, V. (2017). Risking attachments in teaching child and youth care in 21st century settler colonial, environmental and biotechnological worlds. International Journal of Social Pedagogy.

Kassis, W., Artz, S. & White, J. (2017). Understanding depression in adolescence: A dynamic psychosocial web of risk and protective factors. Child and Youth Care Forum, 1-23.

Kral, M.J. & White, J. (2017). Moving toward a critical suicidology’. Ann Psychiatry Ment Health 5(2), 1099.

White, J. (2015). An ethos for the times: Difference, imagination and the unknown future in child and youth care.  International Journal of Child, Youth & Family Studies, 6(4), 498-515.

White, J. (2015). Shaking up suicidology. Social Epistemology Review and Reply Collective 4 (6), 1-4.

White, J. & Kral, M. (2014). Re-thinking youth suicide: Language, culture and power. Journal of Social Action for Counseling and Psychology, 6(1), 122-142.

White, J. (2014). Expanding and democratizing the youth suicide prevention agenda: Youth participation, cultural responsiveness and social transformation. Canadian Journal of Community Mental Health, 33(1), 95-106.

Wexler, L., White, J. & Trainor, B. (2014). Why an alternative to suicide prevention gatekeeper training is needed for rural Indigenous communities: Presenting an empowering community storytelling approach. Critical Public Health. 20(5),205-217.

White, J. & Ranahan, P. (2014). Introduction to the special issue on youth suicide prevention: Research, policy and practice. International Journal of Child, Youth & Family Studies, 5(1),1-3.

Kouri, S. & White, J. (2014). Thinking the other side of youth suicide: Engagements with life. International Journal of Child, Youth & Family Studies, 5(1), 180-203.

Hoskins, M. & White, J. (2013). Relational inquiries and the research interview: Mentoring future researchers. Qualitative Inquiry, 19(3), 179-188. DOI: 10.1177/1077800412466224

White, J. (2013). Suicide Movies: Social Patterns 1900 – 2009 [Book Review]. Social Forces, 93 (3), e87 .

White, J. & Stoneman, L. (2012). Thinking and doing prevention: A critical analysis of contemporary youth crime and suicide prevention discourses. Child and Youth Services, 33, 104-126.

White, J. (2012). Youth suicide as a ‘wild problem:’ Implications for prevention practice. Suicidology Online, 3, 42-50.

White, J., Morris, J., & Hinbest, J. (2012).  Collaborative knowledge-making in the everyday practice of youth suicide prevention.  International Journal of Qualitative Studies in Education, 25(3), 339-355.

White, J. & Hoskins, M. (2011). On the tightrope: Making sense of neglect in everyday child welfare practice. Canadian Social Work Review, 28(2), 173-188.

Bilsker, D. & White, J. (2011). The silent epidemic of male suicide. British Columbia Medical Journal, 53(10)529-534.

White, J. & Morris, J. (2010). Precarious spaces: Risk, responsibility and uncertainty in youth suicide prevention education. Social Science & Medicine, 71, 2187-2194.

Hoskins, M. & White, J. (2010). Processes of discernment when considering issues of neglect in child protection practice. Child and Youth Care Forum, 39, 27-45.

White, J. (2010). Suicide ideation among participants in an after-school program: A convenience sample.  A response. Child and Youth Services, 31(1/2), 14-20.

White, J. (2007). Knowing, doing and being in context: A praxis-oriented approach to child and youth care. Child and Youth Care Forum,36, 225-244.

White, J. (2007). Working in the midst of ideological and cultural differences: Critically reflecting on youth suicide prevention in Indigenous communities. Canadian Journal of Counselling, 41(4), 213-227.

White, J. (2005).  Earning their trust and keeping them safe: Exploring ethical tensions in the practice of youth suicide prevention.  Relational Child and Youth Care Practice, 17(3), 13-21.Working with Risk

White, J. (1996).  Youth suicide prevention: “Big picture thinking” for child and youth care professionals.  Journal of Child and Youth Care, 11(3), 43-51.Youth Suicide Prevention

White, J. (1994). After the crisis: Facilitating the suicidal student’s return to school. Guidance and Counselling, 10(1), 10-13. After the Crisis

Book Chapters

White, J. & Ranahan, P. (2020). Learning while doing: Critically interrogating the implementation of a provincial suicide prevention gatekeeper training programme. In S. Shahtahmasebi (Ed.). Suicide: The Broader View (pp. 147-165) Cambridge Scholars Publishing.

White, J. (2019). Hello cruel world: Embracing a collective ethics for suicide prevention.   In M. Button & I. Marsh (Eds.). Suicide and Social Justice: New Perspectives on the Politics of Suicide and Suicide Prevention (pp. 197-210). Routledge Press.

White, J. (2018). Foreword. Narrative approaches to youth work: Conversational skills for critical practice. Routledge.

Ranahan, P. & White, J. (2016).  Re-envisioning youth work education for mental health care and suicide intervention. In K. Pozzoboni & B. Kirshner (Eds.) The changing landscape of youth work: Theory and practice for an evolving field. Information Age Press.

White, J. (2016). Re-imagining youth suicide prevention education. In J. White, I. Marsh, M. Kral & J. Morris (Eds.). Critical suicidology: Transforming suicide research and prevention for the 21st century. Vancouver: UBC Press.Reimagining Youth Suicide Prevention

Marsh, I. & White, J. (2015). Boundaries, thresholds and the liminal in youth suicide prevention work. In H. Skott-Myhre, V. Pacini-Ketchabaw & K. Skott-Myhre (Eds.). Youth work, early education, and psychology: Liminal encounters (pp. 69-89). New York: Palgrave MacMillan.

White, J. (2015). Qualitative evidence in suicide ideation, attempts, and prevention of suicide. In K. Olson, R. Young, & I. Schultz (Eds.). Handbook of qualitative health research for evidence-based practice (pp. 335-354).  New York: Springer.

White, J. (2011). Re-stor(y)ing professional ethics in child and youth care: Towards more contextualized, reflexive and generative practices. In A. Pence & J. White (Eds.) Child and youth care: Critical perspectives on pedagogy, practice and policy (pp. 33-51). Vancouver, BC: UBC Press.Re-Story(y)ing Professional Ethics in CYC

Pence, A. & White, J. (2011). Introduction. In A. Pence & J. White (Eds.) Child and youth care: Critical perspectives on pedagogy, practice and policy (pp. xv-xxii). Vancouver, BC: UBC Press.Introduction AP and JW

White, J. (2008). Knowing, doing and being in context: A praxis-oriented approach to child and youth care. In F. Ricks & Gerard Bellefeuille (Eds.), On the precipice: Expanding our creative potential: Inquiry beyond the edge of child and youth care practice. Edmonton, AB: McEwan Press [Also listed under Articles Published in Refereed Journals]

Dyck, R.J, Mishara, B. L. & White, J. (1998) Suicide in children, adolescents and seniors: Key findings and policy implications. In National Forum on Health Determinants of Health vol 3 : Settings and Issues (pp. 311-373).  Ottawa: National Forum on Health.

Dyck, R. & White, J. (1998).  Suicide in Canada:  Work in progress.  In A. Leenaars, S. Wenckstern, I. Sakinofsky, R. Dyck, M. Kral, & R. Bland (Eds.), Suicide in Canada (pp. 273-290).  Toronto: University of Toronto Press.Suicide Prevention in Canada

White, J. (1998). Comprehensive youth suicide prevention:  A model for understanding.  In A. Leenaars, S. Wenckstern, I. Sakinofsky, R. Dyck, M. Kral, & R. Bland (Eds.), Suicide in Canada (pp. 273-290).  Toronto: University of Toronto Press.Suicide in Canada

Edited Books

White, J., Marsh, I., Kral, M. & Morris, J. (2016) (Eds.). Critical suicidology: Transforming suicide research and prevention for the 21st century. Vancouver: UBC Press.

Pence, A. & White, J. (Eds.). (2011). Child and youth care: Critical perspectives on pedagogy, practice and policy. Vancouver, BC: UBC Press.

Selected (Non-Refereed) Professional and Scholarly Works

Wise Practices-Thunderbird Partnership Foundation (2018). Wise practices for life promotion. [Jennifer White & Ed Connors, Project Co-Leads]

White, J. & Mushquash, C. (2016). We belong: Life promotion to address Indigenous suicide. Thunderbird Partnership Foundation.White & Mushquash, 2016 FINAL.pdf

White, J. (2016). Preventing youth suicide: A guide for practitioners. Child and Youth Policy Team, British Columbia Ministry for Children and Family Development. preventing_youth_suicide_practitioners_guide-1

White, J. (2014). Practice guidelines for working with children and youth at-risk for suicide in community mental health settings. Child and Youth Mental Health Policy Team, British Columbia Ministry for Children and Family Development. practice_guidelines_children_youth_at_risk_suicide

White, J. (2011). Policy and practice considerations: Clinical assessment of suicide risk and clinical documentation. Child and Youth Mental Health Policy Team, British Columbia Ministry for Children and Family Development. youth_suicide_risk_assessment_and_clinical_documentationnov2011-1

White, J. (2009). Doing youth suicide prevention critically: Interrogating the knowledge practice relationship. Federation of Community Social Services of BC Research to Practice Network. Doing Youth Suicide Prevention White Feb09-2

Mussell, B., Cardiff, K. & White, J. (2004). Promoting the wellbeing of Aboriginal children and youth: Guidance for new strategies and approaches. Chilliwack, BC: Sal ‘i’ shan Institute. Salishan_Guide_04

White, J. (2005). Preventing suicide in children and youth: Taking action with imperfect knowledge. Vancouver, BC: Mental Health Evaluation and Community Consultation Unit (Mheccu), Department of Psychiatry, UBC. Taking action with imperfect knowledge

White, J & Jodoin, N. (2003). Aboriginal youth: A manual of promising suicide prevention strategies. Calgary, AB: Centre for Suicide Prevention. res-prom-stat-en-1</a>

White, J. (2003). Review of suicide-related research in Canada, Ottawa, ON: Health Canada.suicide_research_e

Comments are closed.