Jennifer White

Associate Professor

BA (UVic), MA, EdD (UBC)

Jennifer White
Dr. Jennifer White

Dr. Jennifer White is an Associate Professor in the School of Child and Youth Care at the University of Victoria. Jennifer has worked in the human services sector for over two decades and she has practiced in the field of youth suicide prevention since 1988. Jennifer has an MA in Counselling Psychology and an EdD in Educational Leadership. Jennifer has practiced as a clinical counsellor, educator, policy consultant, researcher, and community developer. In 2004 Jennifer received the Canadian Association for Suicide Prevention (CASP) Service Award in recognition for her leadership and contributions to the practice of youth suicide prevention. Jennifer also served as a member of the First Nations, Inuit and Métis Advisory Committee, Canadian Mental Health Commission.

Prior to coming to the School of Child and Youth Care, Jennifer worked at a residential care facility working with young people experiencing serious mental health and behavioural challenges. After that she worked as a counselor in a community mental health setting in Vancouver. She then worked for the provincial government in Alberta as a youth suicide prevention educator and community developer. For seven years Jennifer served as the Director of the Suicide Prevention Information and Resource Centre, Mental Health Evaluation and Community Consultation Unit (MHECCU), Department of Psychiatry, University of British Columbia. 

Jennifer has a longstanding interest in studying everyday practice in Child and Youth Care which includes a consideration of the diverse ways of knowing, doing and being that inform this work. Jennifer utilizes a range of qualitative research methodologies, including narrative, constructionist, discursive and case study approaches. In the past she has used these methodologies to study program planning, child welfare, and youth suicide prevention education practice. Jennifer is also interested in advancing and supporting the professional development of CYC practitioners and she has developed a praxis-oriented framework which aims to support ethical, self-aware, responsive and accountable action.

Jennifer is interested in studying contemporary discourses of youth suicide prevention. Through critically informed, relational approaches to inquiry, she seeks to explore 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.

Most recently Jennifer was the Principal Investigator on a study entitled, Collaborating for Youth Suicide Prevention funded by the BC Medical Services Foundation, the Victoria Foundation and the Andrew Mahon Foundation. This in-depth case study was undertaken in collaboration with field practitioners. It was aimed at deepening our understanding of how key stakeholders (i.e. students, parents, school staff, and community educators) experience and respond to a research-informed, school-based suicide prevention curriculum. Close attention was paid to youth perspectives, pedagogical practices, stakeholder values and interests, and contextual influences, including the professional practice and policy discourses that frame social problems, like youth suicide. 

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). Qualitative evidence in suicide ideation, attempts, and prevention of suicide. Handbook of Qualitative Research for Evidence-Based Practice (pp. 335-354).  New York: Springer.

White, J., Marsh, I., Kral, M. & Morris, J. (2015) (Eds.). Critical suicidology: Transforming suicide research and prevention for the 21st century. Vancouver: UBC Press.

White, J. (2015). 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.

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

White, J. (2015). Thinking about borders and tangled meshes [Editorial]. International Journal of Child, Youth & Family Studies Review

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.

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. doi:

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.

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

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., 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. (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.

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

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.

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

White, J. (2009). Suicide ideation among participants in an after-school program: A convenience sample.  A response. Child and Youth Services, 30(1/2), 14-20.

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. (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. (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.

Edited Books

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

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