Dr. Janis L. Whitlock: Finding Strength to Live | Bouncing Back #15

In this episode, host Lu Ngo is joined by Dr. Janis L. Whitlock who has devoted her career to researching non-suicidal self-injury and leading the Cornell Research Program on Self-Injury and Recovery

Life presents its fair share of challenges, testing resilience along the way. Join Lu Ngo in an engaging conversation with Dr. Janis L. Whitlock, an esteemed expert in adolescent and young adult mental health, as they delve into the topic of finding strength amidst adversity.

This episode sheds light on the importance of fostering resilience, promoting connectedness, and navigating tough times. It offers practical insights on how to emerge stronger and seek support when it matters most.

Meet Dr. Janis L. Whitlock

Dr. Janis Whitlock is the founder and director of the Cornell Research Program on Self-Injury and Recovery, a project focused on the research and development of outreach materials related to non-suicidal self-injury. She is a research scientist emerita at Cornell University and a senior advisor for the JED Foundation. She consults with schools, organizations, and individuals interested in enhancing the mental health and well-being of adolescents and young adults.

Dr. Janis is the author of over 50 publications on adolescent and young adult mental health and well-being and the author of the book Healing self-injury: A Compassionate Guide for Parents and Other Loved Ones. Dr. Janis focuses on resilience, connectedness, promoting positive media balance, and messaging as critical ingredients in supporting contemporary youth well-being.

About the episode

In this thought-inducing episode of Bouncing Back, Dr. Janis L. Whitlock highlights that resilience is a finite resource as it can grow and evolve over time. According to Dr. Janis, highlights the distinction between suicidal behaviors and non-suicidal self-injury is crucial. 

She acknowledges that while some experiences may be overwhelming and require professional help, smaller doses of hardship can contribute to personal growth and resilience in one’s unique healing journey. 

Dr. Janis highlights the impact of chronic distress, feelings of failure, and challenging family dynamics as potential triggers of suicidal behaviors. She emphasizes the importance of support and intervention in these situations. She also emphasizes the challenges faced by middle-aged men in seeking help due to the societal expectations and stigma surrounding male emotions. 

Dr. Janis encourages initiating open and compassionate conversations, asking directly about suicidal thoughts or struggles with depression. She also suggests providing ongoing support tailored to one’s needs.

Dr. Janis emphasizes the importance of self-care and personal coping mechanisms, including being honest with yourself. She also shares personal experiences and highlights the significance of reaching out to friends or loved ones for support.

In conclusion

Personal resilience is crucial not only for growth and development, but also for overcoming suicidal thoughts and behaviors. It is important to reach out to others and acknowledge the strength and will to live within oneself in order to combat the different triggers of suicidal behaviors. Self-care and coping strategies are encouraged to enhance well-being and resilience.

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