Community forum to focus on gun suicide

Gun violence

In the United States, there are more than 32,000 deaths per year from gun violence. More than 60 percent of those are from suicides.

These issues and more will be discussed at Washington University in St. Louis during “Guns, Suicide and Safety: A Community Forum,” from 3-5 p.m. Monday, Feb. 15, in Hillman Hall’s Clark-Fox Forum on the Danforth Campus.

The panel discussion is part of the university’s yearlong initiative “Gun Violence: A Public Health Crisis.” Formed in spring 2015 as a look at one of America’s greatest public health challenges, this initiative invites scholars, medical professionals, community leaders and citizens to take a hard look at the serious, tragic public health consequences of gun violence in America.

Sean Joe
Sean Joe

The Feb. 15 panel will be moderated by Sean Joe, PhD, associate dean for faculty and research at the Brown School and the Benjamin E. Youngdahl Professor of Social Development.Joe is one of the nation’s foremost experts on suicidal behavior among African Americans.

“Our hope is that this community forum will help us consider the evidence and explore how families and friends can be informed about the warning signs of suicide, and what they can do to help temporarily keep a loved one in suicidal crisis from access to lethal means,” Joe said.

The keynote speakers are Michael Anestis, director of the Suicide and Emotion Dysregulation Lab at the University of Southern Mississippi; and Cathy Barber, director of the Means Matter Campaign at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health Injury Control Research Center.

Under the direction of Anestis, the Suicide and Emotion Dysregulation Lab conducts research focusing primarily on enhancing understanding of the nature of, and risk factors for, suicidal behavior, with particular emphasis on the paradoxical effects of emotion dysregulation.

Barber led the effort to design and pilot test a prototype for the Centers for Disease Control’s National Violence Death Reporting System and co-founded the National Center for Suicide Prevention Training.

For more information on the panel, visit

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