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Anestis Keynote Speaker for Los Angeles County Suicide Prevention Summit

Thu, 10/17/2019 - 11:00am | By: David Tisdale

Dr. Mike AnestisThe ninth annual Los Angeles County Suicide Prevention Summit featured a University of Southern Mississippi (USM) faculty members as one of its keynote speakers.

Dr. Mike Anestis, associate professor in the USM School of Psychology, presented “Guns and Suicide: What Do We Know and What Can We Do?” Sept. 25 at the event, hosted by the Los Angeles County Suicide Prevention Unit. 

Dr. Anestis’ address provided his audience with background on the relationship between firearms and suicide and data-driven dialogue establishing the magnitude of the relationship between firearms and suicide, including among the military veteran demographic. His talk included a proposal for a theory-driven rationale for that relationship, along with a range of solutions. Information employed in the presentation was drawn from both military and civilian research samples.

The day before his keynote presentation, Dr. Anestis took part in a stakeholder meeting with representatives of mental health service entities, law enforcement, and the Educational Fund to Stop Gun Violence, to discuss ways to work on addressing the role of firearms in suicide in Los Angeles County.

"The summit was a wonderful event, focused on preventing suicide among veterans in an area of the country where an enormous number of veterans are living and, unfortunately, struggling,” Dr. Anestis said. “A range of diverse and inspiring voices described ongoing efforts to help, and my role was to highlight the importance of directly addressing firearms in any effort aiming to make meaningful and sustainable reductions in the suicide rate."

Dr. Anestis is director of USM’s Suicide and Dysregulation laboratory, and his research focuses on risk factors for suicide, with a particular emphasis on the role of firearms. He is the author of more than 130 peer reviewed scientific publications, as well as the recent book Guns and Suicide: An American Epidemic. Dr. Anestis received the 2018 Edwin Shneidman Award for early career achievement in suicide research from the American Association of Suicidology, and is currently the principle investigator on a randomized clinical trial focused on increasing safe storage behavior among firearm-owning members of the Mississippi National Guard.

The USM School of Psychology is housed in the College of Education and Human Sciences. Learn more about the school at