Jennifer H. White

Jennifer H. White
School of Child and Youth Care

Study Leave


BA (UVic), MA, EdD (UBC)

Area of expertise

Youth suicide prevention; ethics; discourses of professionalism; constructionist methodologies; collaborative research; narrative practices; professional development; praxis-oriented pedagogy

Brief Biography

Dr. Jennifer White is a Professor in the School of Child and Youth Care at the University of Victoria. Jennifer has a BA in Psychology from the University of Victoria. She has an MA in Counselling Psychology and an EdD in Educational Leadership from UBC. Jennifer has practiced as a child and youth care worker, counsellor, educator, policy consultant, researcher, and community developer.

Practice Background

Jennifer began her professional career as a CYC practitioner, working at a residential treatment facility for young people experiencing serious mental health and behavioural challenges. Prior to coming to the School of Child and Youth Care in 2004, Jennifer worked as a clinical counselor in a community mental health setting and she also worked for the provincial government 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.

Research Interests

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. Jennifer is one of original founders of the Critical Suicidology Network which is a growing international network of scholars who are interested in exploring alternatives to biomedical approaches to suicide prevention.

Research and Supervision Fields

Youth suicide prevention; ethics; discourses of professionalism; constructionist methodologies; collaborative research; narrative practices; professional development; praxis; pedagogy

Current Work (summary)

Working as part of a research team, in collaboration with Indigenous scholars, leaders, elders and youth, Jennifer is currently leading a project called Wise Practices for Life Promotion that is funded by the First Nations and Inuit Health Branch (FNIHB) of Health Canada.  This project seeks to curate a series of wise practices for promoting life based on what is already working and/or showing promise in First Nations communities across the country. The final online resource will be designed to be culturally relevant and responsive to the lived realities of young people and all who are invested in wellness for First Nations youth.

Jennifer was also recently awarded a collaborative research grant from Island Health (2019-2021) to conduct a “A Practice-Based Study of Youth and Family Counsellors’ Experience Working With Suicidal Youth.” The purpose of this project is to learn more about what Youth and Family Counsellors actually do to reduce risks for suicide among youth, the challenges and opportunities they face, and the organizational conditions that support them to be most effective in their work.

Recent Publications

Cesar Riani Costa, L & White, J. (2024). Making sense of critical suicide studies: Metaphors, tensions, and futurities. Social Sciences, 13(183),

White, J. (2024 ). (Un)becoming an ethical professional: Queer (im)possibilities and pedagogical practices. In C. Greensmith & A. Davies (Eds.). Queering professionalism. University of Toronto Press.

White, J., Harrison, J. & Fleming, R. (2023). Clinical supervision, workplace culture, and therapeutic engagements with youth at risk for suicide. Journal of Constructivist Psychology.

White, J., Fleming, R. & Harrison, J. (2022). Counsellors’ experience of working with suicidal youth: Working the tensions. Canadian Journal of Counselling and Psychotherapy, 56(2), 164-187.

White, J. (2021). Relational feminist ethics in child and youth care. In V. Mann-Fedder (Ed). Doing ethics in child and youth care (pp. 73-91). Canadian Scholars Press.

Pielle, R., Newbury, J. & White, J. (2020). The generative potential of love and reciprocity in project work. Relational Child and Youth Care Practice,33(4), 7-16.

Hillman, M., Dellebuur-O’Connor, K. & White, J (2020). Reckoning with our privilege in the CYC Classroom: De-Centering whiteness and teaching for social justice. International Journal of Child, Youth & Family Studies, 11(2), 40-60.

White, J. (2020). Suicidology is for cutting:  Epistemic injustice and decolonial critiquesSocial Epistemology Reply Collective, 9 (5),75-81.

White, J. & Morris, J. (2019). Re-thinking ethics and politics in suicide prevention: Bringing narrative ideas into dialogue with critical suicide studies. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 16, 3236. doi:10.3390/ijerph16183236

White, J. (2019). Hello cruel world: Embracing a collective ethics for suicide prevention.   In M. Button & I. Marsh (Eds.). Suicide and Social Justice: New Perspectives on the Politics of Suicide and Suicide Prevention. Routledge Press.

Ranahan, P. & White, J. (2019). Creating suicide-safer communities in British Columbia: A focused ethnography. Journal of Ethnographic and Qualitative Research, 14, 42-58.

Link to Radical Therapist Podcast Interview Critical Suicidology with Dr. Jennifer White