May 23, 2019  

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Anestis to be honored for Research on Suicide at National Conference

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Dr. Michael Anestis

 The American Association of Suicidology (AAS) will honor University of Southern Mississippi associate professor of psychology Dr. Michael Anestis with its prestigious Shneidman Award at its 51st annual conference April 18-21 in Washington, D.C.

The Shneidman Award is presented to a person under 40 years of age, or not more than 10 years past their highest degree earned, who has made outstanding contributions in research in the field of suicidology. It is named in honor of the late Dr. Edwin S. Shneidman, a renowned clinical psychologist who founded AAS in 1968.  

In announcing Dr. Anestis as its choice for the award, the AAS noted that “Dr. Anestis' trajectory as a researcher far outpaces his peers. Because of the quality and nature of his work, he is one of only a handful of current researchers who is likely to have a marked impact on the suicide prevention field.”

Dr. Anestis joined the Southern Miss faculty in 2012 and is director of the USM Department of Psychology’s Suicide and Emotion Dysregulation Laboratory. His research examines risk factors for suicidal behavior in both military and civilian populations, and correlations between suicide and firearms storage and safety. He has published 113 peer reviewed articles, including in such prominent journals as Suicide and Life-Threatening Behavior (the AAS’s peer-reviewed journal), American Journal of Public Health, and Journal of Abnormal Psychology.

“I’m grateful to both AAS and USM for their support of my work,” Dr. Anestis said. “More people die by suicide each year using a firearm than by all other methods combined, and yet only a tiny portion of our research on suicide focuses on firearms, and many health care providers avoid asking about firearm access and storage methods.

“If my work and this recognition can help encourage others to openly discuss and research the role of firearms in suicide, I will consider that an enormous success.”

The research conducted by Dr. Anestis and his graduate students is critically important, said Department of Psychology Chairman Dr. Joe Olmi.

“There is no one more deserving of this award than Dr. Anestis,” Dr. Olmi said. “For him to be recognized in such a manner is highly appropriate. We’re fortunate to have him in the Department of Psychology at USM.”

For information about the Southern Miss Department of Psychology, visit