Prof. Juan Rios, DSW, LCSW
Professor Juan Rios, DSW, LCSW, director of Seton Hall’s Master of Social Work program and registered psychotherapist, recently explored suicide as a critical health crisis during a panel discussion on PBS MetroFocus with l ’99 host Jenna Flanagan, award-winning filmmaker James Barrat and Stephen Thomas, whose personal story is featured in Learning to live: the path to resilience after prison.
Rios, who also appeared in learn to livediscussed the new documentary, coping with suicide, which investigates and pushes to de-stigmatize one of the nation’s most pressing public health crises. This documentary, currently airing on PBS, was produced for Twin Cities PBS (TPT) and PBS by Barrat Media, 1904 Media and JWM Productions.
During this crucial conversation, Professor Rios explained:
“I want to focus on how we as a community perceive ourselves and our young people between the ages of 18 and 25 when they really start to establish who I am in this space, who I am in relation to my community, my family, and what my purpose is. When we do this from the age of 18 to 25, if I have experienced trauma, if I have experienced intergenerational trauma, community violence, if i’ve had a sense of disconnect between me and who i already am, the moment i think about who i’m going to become and i don’t have that future, then it starts to pull me further and further away more of my why.”
With suicide being a leading cause of death affecting virtually every demographic and with 130 Americans dying every day, panelists spoke about the importance of engaging mental health as a community. They looked at post-traumatic stress disorder and complex PTSD, the link between trauma and suicidality, and how crisis is devastating young people today.
To compound all these issues, Professor Rios shared:
“If I live in a community where I don’t have emotional support, I see death. People my age under 15, I know, have died through violence or gun violence. There are assaults. So we know that even though in African American communities we can see high rates of poverty, what we don’t talk about is that young African American men are 16 times more likely to be victims of violent crimes before the age of 16. , theft, assault. And that normalizes when it comes to these experiences. And what we have now is where that ends our emotional processing of feeling connected to my community, of being able to feel that I have value, that I have value. And then we start to get desperate that there’s economic injustice, there’s environmental injustice, there’s food injustice that’s out there and you put it all together and you really open a window into the psychology of belonging , whether in my community or in America.
To view the MetroFocus segment, please visit “FACING SUICIDE”: The new PBS initiative investigates one of America’s most pressing health crises.
To watch Stephen Thomas’ story with Rios’ interview, please visit Learning to Live: The Resilient Path After Prison.
For more on the PBS documentary, please visit Facing Suicide.
For members of the University community, Counseling & Psychological Services (CAPS) offers a wide range of therapeutic services designed to support the psychological health and well-being of our students in order to help them thrive, develop and achieve academic and personal success and for those who want to know more about this topic. To schedule an appointment, students may contact CAPS at 973-761-9500 or visit Mooney Hall, Second Floor, Room 27 during regular business hours, Monday through Friday, 8:45 a.m. to 4:45 p.m. The SHU 24/7 Mental Health Crisis Hotline at 973-275-Help (4357) is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week to speak with a qualified mental health counselor immediately. Outside of college, students can call or text the 988 National Suicide & Crisis Lifeline or chat with 988lifeline.org.