Professor elected as President of Suicidology

” Dr. James Rogers, professor in The University of Akron’s Collaborative Program in Counseling Psychology and adjunct professor of behavioral sciences at NEOUCOM, was elected President of the American Association of Suicidology. Rogers states that the main goal of the organization is to prevent suicide through research and clinical practice through a variety of people such as sociologists, psychologists, psychiatrists, nurses and volunteers.”

Dr. James Rogers, professor in The University of Akron’s Collaborative Program in Counseling Psychology and adjunct professor of behavioral sciences at NEOUCOM, was elected President of the American Association of Suicidology. Rogers states that the main goal of the organization is to prevent suicide through research and clinical practice through a variety of people such as sociologists, psychologists, psychiatrists, nurses and volunteers. Also in this organization are suicide survivors, people who have lost someone to suicide, as well as people who have made previous suicide attempts and are now interested in preventing suicide.

Rogers became a member of the association in 1988, and for three years in the early 1990s served on the Board of Directors as a membership chair. He has attended all conferences except one, and has been on various committees. For the last year and a half he has been the chairperson on the Board of Directors. The presidency lasts for a total of six years, two years devoted to president-elect, two years to the actual Presidency, and two years of being past president. Rogers was elected into his president term just last week and was recognized at the annual conference in San Francisco.

Suicide has always been an area of research and interest to me and this is a premier organization in the country, Rogers said. He states that over 1 million people die and 800,000 people make unsuccessful attempts annually across the globe because of suicide. He became president because an opportunity to serve the organization as president came up and this area has been a passion for me. Rogers was nominated for this position by a committee and was elected through votes by members of the organization.

One area of focus for Rogers as president will be to prevent suicide among active duty personnel and veterans. Another goal for Rogers is to try and combine smaller groups that focus on suicide and instead of splitting up the funding base between them, pull the groups together as a collaborative effort. He also wants to provide standard training programs to provide people of all professions with insight on how to deal with suicide. One last goal is to include the government by focusing on suicide prevention in special populations such as in the railroad system and in the Army.

Rogers explains, I am intrigued by the idea that people could find death a better option than life. He believes that suicide is always a tragedy.

We try to understand the motivation behind suicidal behaviors, says Rogers. He is very excited about this new position because my professional life is in two camps, which are suicidology and counseling psychology.

He hopes to bridge the gap between the two areas, which will be good because suicide has not yet been a very high profile issue in counseling psychology.

Although Rogers is very excited about his new position, he does have some fears.

Being president of the association is very challenging because there are lots of people in the organization who know way more than I do, says Rogers.

He also says, I have some anxiety about translating things from the association to the real world for practical idea and intervention to reduce suicide.

Rogers explains, I am honored to be elected president and it is important to get the issue of suicide out because it is a big public health issue.