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Janis Whitlock, Ph.D., M.P.H.

Janis Whitlock has worked in the area of adolescent and young adult mental health, resilience and wellbeing for over 30 years. She is dedicated to bridging science, practice, and lived experience wisdom in ways that inform, enhance and support the human capacity to thrive. She has experience as a frontline provider and program developer and, for the past two decades, as a researcher, educator, author, and public speaker in these and related areas. As the founder and director of the Cornell Research Program on Self-Injury and Recovery and the co-founder of the International Society for the Study of Self-Injury, she has deep expertise in areas of self-injury and related mental health challenges, including suicide, depression and anxiety. She has also studied and written about connectedness, resilience, the role of social media in mental health and prevention, and sexual health. She earned a doctorate in Developmental Psychology from Cornell University, a Masters of Public Health from UNC Chapel Hill, and a BA from the University of California at Berkeley.

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The World Health Organization defines “mental health” “as a state of well-being in which every individual realizes his or her own potential, can cope with the normal stresses of life, can work productively and fruitfully, and is able to make a contribution to her or his community.” In using this definition, S2i recognizes that some mental health challenges reflect brain diseases that, like physical diseases, require appropriate stigma-free and patient-centered care and include both mental health and substance use disorders. Other mental health challenges stem from social conditions and marginalization and require different forms of interventions.