Rebecca Rasnake

Rebecca’s research challenges traditional approaches to suicide by examining the problem with a critical lens that shifts accountability away from pathologized individuals and onto the structures that oppress them. Rebecca is interested in exploring substance use, identity, health disparities, trauma, socioeconomic status, and gun culture within historical and political contexts to elicit a deeper understanding of suicide patterns. Suicide rates are increasing and disproportionately impact certain groups despite dense scholarly literature and various intervention/prevention strategies. With a focus on the populations of Central Appalachia and Indigenous peoples, Rebecca’s goal is to strengthen the relationship between social policy and social work practice by producing culturally viable data that can inform appropriate strategies to improve suicide outcomes. Rebecca recognizes suicide as a psychopolitical issue, and her research emphasizes the need for multilevel systemic change.

Rebecca is a licensed master social worker specializing in emergency psychiatry and crisis intervention. She grew up in Southwest Virginia and is an enrolled member of the Tonawanda Band of Seneca Indians of New York. Rebecca’s personal and professional experiences inspired her to strive for social justice in her communities.


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