Youth Suicide Prevention Community of Practice: The Connections between Adolescent Brain Development and Suicide Prevention


For the seventh meeting of the Youth Suicide Prevention Community of Practice (CoP), guest speakers presented on the emerging research issue of adolescent brain development and possible implications for suicide prevention.

Description: In this webinar, Dr. Lisa Pan presented on the neurobiology of suicidal behavior and shares preliminary findings from the brain scans of adolescents with a history of suicide attempts. A case report reviewing contributing factors for treatment-resistant depression and suicidal behavior was also presented. Dr. Cecile Ladouceur presents a brief overview of adolescent brain development contrasting maturational changes associated with age and puberty. Recent research advances in developmental neuroscience, including social, affective, and cognitive neuroscience were discussed with regard to their implications in elucidating potential mechanisms underlying vulnerabilities for mood disorders and opportunities for early intervention during this unique developmental window.

About the Speakers:

Cecile Ladouceur, Ph.D., is Assistant Professor of Psychiatry and Psychology at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, Western Psychiatric Institute and Clinic (WPIC). She is a developmental and clinical child psychologist specializing in the development and regulation of brain circuitry that supports emotion processing in adolescents. Her research focuses on the influence of pubertal maturation on brain development and how such influences may help explain particular vulnerabilities to mood disorders during adolescence.

Lisa Pan, M.D., is Assistant Professor of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, Western Psychiatric Institute and Clinic (WPIC). She has been a practicing physician with WPIC since 2000. She is trained as both an adult and child & adolescent psychiatrist and has worked specifically with teens at risk for suicide for nearly a decade. Her research investigates the neurobiology of early suicide attempts and the treatment of depression in adolescents, with a goal to improve the long-term outcome of individuals with suicidal behavior.

Erica Streit-Kaplan, M.P.H., M.S.W., is a Technical Assistance Specialist for the Children's Safety Network, a national injury and violence prevention resource center serving staff in state health departments around the nation.

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