Dr. Thomas Ellis Joiner, Jr.

THOMAS JOINER grew up in Georgia, went to college at Princeton, and received his Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology from the University of Texas at Austin. He is The Robert O. Lawton Distinguished Professor in the Department of Psychology at Florida State University (FSU), Tallahassee, Florida. Dr. Joiner’s work is on the psychology, neurobiology, and treatment of suicidal behavior and related conditions. Author of over 800 peer-reviewed publications, Dr. Joiner is the Editor-in-Chief of the journal Suicide & Life-Threatening Behavior, and was awarded the Guggenheim Fellowship and the Rockefeller Foundation’s Bellagio Residency Fellowship for work on suicidal behavior. Early career milestones included the Young Investigator Award from the National Alliance for Research on Schizophrenia and Depression (NARSAD), the Shakow Award for Early Career Achievement from the Division of Clinical Psychology of the American Psychological Association, the Shneidman Award for excellence in suicide research from the American Association of Suicidology, and the Award for Distinguished Scientific Early Career Contributions from the American Psychological Association. More recently, he received the Dublin Award from the American Association of Suicidology for career achievement in suicide research as well as research grants from the National Institute of Mental Health, Department of Defense (DoD), and various foundations. The Lawton Professorship and the Dublin Award are the single highest honors bestowed, respectively, by FSU and the American Association of Suicidology. Dr. Joiner was appointed to the University of Minnesota Test Division Advisory Board, which oversees the development of the Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory (MMPI) and related efforts in 2016 and served two 3-year terms which included the publication of the MMPI-3. In 2017, he was named a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and in 2020, was given the Distinguished Scientist Award by the Society for a Science of Clinical Psychology and the James McKeen Cattell Award for lifetime contributions to the area of applied psychological research by the Association for Psychological Science.

He was a consultant to NASA’s Human Research Program, and is the Director of the DoD-funded Military Suicide Research Consortium, a $70 million, thirteen-year project.

Dr. Joiner has authored or edited nineteen books, including Why People Die By Suicide, published in 2005 by Harvard University Press, and Myths About Suicide, published in 2010, also with Harvard University Press. The book Lonely at the Top was published by Palgrave MacMillan in October, 2011, and the book The Perversion of Virtue: Understanding Murder-Suicide was published by Oxford University Press in 2014. The book Mindlessness: The Corruption of Mindfulness in a Culture of Narcissism, came out in 2017, also from Oxford. The book The Varieties of Suicidal Experience: A New Theory of Suicidal Violence will appear in 2023, from NYU Press. He has made numerous radio, print, and television appearances, including write-ups in The Wall Street Journal and The Times of London, a radio interview on NPR’s Talk of the Nation, and two appearances on the Dr. Phil Show. He runs a part-time clinical and consulting practice specializing in, among other topics, suicidal behavior and related conditions, including legal consultation on suits involving emotional distress, post-traumatic stress disorder, and death by suicide. He and his wife (an MSW alumna of FSU Social Work) live in Tallahassee, Florida; they have two sons, the elder of whom is an FSU graduate and in medical school at Dartmouth, and the younger of whom is a 2021 graduate of FSU now pursuing an MFA at FSU’s Film School (screenwriting).

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