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Pre-July 2009 Press Archives

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3/22/2007 Tompkins to discuss youth suicide

McMINNVILLE - Youth suicide and prevention strategies will be the focus of an upcoming faculty lecture at Linfield College.

Tanya Tompkins, assistant professor of psychology, will present "Youth Suicide: Building Community Partnerships, Finding Solutions" on Wednesday, April 11, at 7:30 p.m. in 201 Riley Hall at Linfield.

Tompkins will provide an overview of the problem of youth suicide, including a look at national, state and local statistical data on the scope of the problem.

"Each year, nearly one in five teenagers in the United States seriously considers suicide," Tompkins said. "Youth suicide currently accounts for more deaths than all other natural causes combined."

Tompkins, who is a member of the Yamhill County Suicide Prevention Coalition, will review key prevention strategies and discuss the development of the local coalition and rationale for the strategies adopted. One strategy, a gatekeeper training called QPR (Question, Persuade, Refer) was offered to Yamhill County school personnel in an effort to enhance detection and referral of suicidal youth. Last year, Tompkins and Linfield students launched a research study, funded by a Linfield collaborative research grant, to test QPR and to determine its effectiveness in Yamhill County schools. She will discuss key findings from the evaluation.

Tompkins will also highlight the mutually beneficial roles that emerge from partnering with others from the broader community, including community problem solving, raising awareness of suicide and mental health, providing experiential learning opportunities for students, and contributing to scientific understanding of community-based prevention of suicide.

Student collaboration has been a key aspect of Tompkins' research. This spring, senior Jody Witt will present at the Society for Research in Child Development in Boston, Mass., at the Oregon Academy of Sciences in Portland and at the Association for Psychological Science in Washington, D.C. Freshman Nadia Abraibesh is currently helping with follow-up data analyses and is working with Tompkins and Witt on a manuscript to be submitted for publication.

Tompkins, a member of the Linfield faculty since 2002, holds a bachelor's from the University of Colorado and both a master's and a Ph.D. from UCLA.

The lecture is free and open to the public. The Linfield College faculty lecture series offers one presentation each month by a member of the Linfield faculty. For more information, call 503-883-2409.