Date of Paper/Work
Doctor of Social Work (DSW)
Type of Paper/Work
Robin Whitebird, PhD
Suicide is a prevalent problem in the United States and throughout the world. Although many professions attempt to understand and intervene on this issue, there has arguably been limited success in decreasing the overall rate of suicide, especially among marginalized and vulnerable populations. Social work is uniquely poised to address this issue due to the broad scope of practice approaches and settings within which social workers are employed. This Banded Dissertation highlights social work’s potential to proffer new insights, understanding, and practice recommendations regarding working with suicidality. This dissertation includes three products: (1) a research paper primarily exploring the ways in which behavioral health professionals understand suicide, with a secondary aim focusing on how social work differs from other professions with regards to conceptualizing and treating suicide; (2) a conceptual paper that demonstrates the applicability of a central social work theory—ecological systems theory—to understand how social workers can intervene with suicide through use of multiple social work roles; and (3) a continuing education curriculum developed to enhance practitioner training in suicide assessment, management, and treatment that utilizes an ecological systems framework to demonstrate how providers can conceptualize and intervene with suicide through various systems.
suicide, ecology, ecological systems, social work, behavioral health
Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.
Heckert, Christopher J., "Ecology of Suicide: Envisioning a Social Work Approach in Suicidology" (2022). Doctor of Social Work Banded Dissertation. 89.
Available for download on Wednesday, May 15, 2024