Sean Joe

Sean Joe is a nationally recognized authority on suicidal behavior among Black Americans, and is expanding the evidence base for effective practice with Black boys and young men. His research focuses on Black adolescents’ mental health service use patterns, the role of religion in Black suicidal behavior, salivary biomarkers for suicidal behavior, and development of father-focused, family-based interventions to prevent urban African American adolescent males from engaging in multiple forms of self-destructive behaviors.

Working within the Center for Social Development, Joe has launched the Race and Opportunity Lab, which examines race, opportunity, and social mobility in the St. Louis region, working to reduce inequality in adolescents transition into adulthood. The lab leading community science project is HomeGrown STL, which is a multi-systemic placed-based capacity building intervention to enhance upward mobility opportunities and health of Black males ages 12-29 years in the St. Louis region. Joe’s epistemological work focuses on the concept of race in medical and social sciences.

He serves on the Steering Committee of the national Suicide Prevention Resource Center (SPRC) and the National Advisory Council of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s Forward Promise initiative.

In recognition of the impact of his work, Joe was elected a fellow of the American Academy of Social Work and Social Welfare, the Society for Social Work and Research, and the New York Academy of Medicine.

Sean Joe

  • Benjamin E. Youngdahl Professor of Social Development
  • Office Phone: 314-935-6145
  • Email:

Areas of Focus:

  • Black male social mobility
  • Black suicidal behavior
  • Community Organizing Intervention Research
  • Father-focused family-based interventions
  • Community Science

Featured Publications

What Works for Adolescent Black Males at Risk of Suicide
Research on Social Work Practice
March 1 2018

Suicide risk among urban children
Children and Youth Services Review
September 2016

12-month and lifetime prevalence of suicide attempts among black adolescents in the National Survey of American Life.
Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry
March 1 2009