Dr. Jennifer White

Dr. Jennifer White
Child and Youth Care

Dr. Jennifer White is a Professor in the School of Child and Youth Care. Dr. White obtained her BA in Psychology from the University of Victoria, followed by her MA in Counselling Psychology and EdD in Educational Leadership from UBC. In addition, Dr. White has worked as a child and youth care practitioner, counsellor, educator, policy consultant, researcher, and community developer.  

Suicide is [not] a singular thing and risks for suicide can [not] only be understood through a psychological framework. A critical approach to suicide studies tries to situate people's distress and dispair within a broader socio-political, historical context.

—Dr. Jennifer White

For many years, Dr. White's work has focused on reframing the ways in which we approach suicidality and youth suicide prevention. Dr. White is one of the founders of the Critical Suicidology Network, an international network of scholars interested in alternatives to biomedical approaches to suicide prevention.

A graphic displaying counsellors' experiences working with suicidal youth in a visual format
In partnership with Island Health, Dr. White and her colleagues conducted a qualitative research study to better understand how counsellors and supervisors assess and treat youth at risk for suicide in British Columbia.

First Nations, Metis, Indigenous youth are over-represented in suicide mortality statistics. In collaboration with Indigenous scholars, leaders, elders and youth, Dr. White was one of the co-leads on Wise Practices for Life Promotion, a web-based project funded by Indigenous Services Canada and currently managed by the Thunderbird Partnership Foundation. This work involves collaborating with Indigenous communities to identify practices they find promising and effective in their context. This project aimed 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 is designed to be accessible, culturally relevant, and responsive to the lived realities of young people and all who are invested in wellness for First Nations youth. 

It's not just something inherently deficient about these young people but rather they're situated in oppressive contexts and unjust environments that are hostile to them and the challenges they are facing are not of their own making. This points toward interventions that implicate and dismantle those colonial systems, policies and structures which produce social suffering and interfere with Indigenous sovereignty. 

—Dr. Jennifer White
White text on an orange background reading: The community stories that are shared in relation to these Wise Practices strategies are examples and resources to nourish and inspire, not standardized models to be replicated. Action will look different in every community.
Wise Practices for Life Promotion aims to curate a series of practices for promoting life based on the lived experience of First Nations communities across the country.

Recent publications

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. https://doi.org/10.18357/ijcyfs112202019518.

White, J. (2020). Suicidology is for cutting:  Epistemic injustice and decolonial critiques. Social Epistemology Reply Collective, 9 (5),75-81. https://wp.me/p1Bfg0-53F

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. 

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 (pp. 197-210). Routledge Press. https://criticalsuicidologydotnet.files.wordpress.com/2021/05/white_2019_hello-cruel-world.pdf

More publications