Thomas Joiner, Ph.D.
Robert O. Lawton Distinguished Professor of Psychology
Florida State University
Department of Psychology


We recently had the opportunity to film and interview Dr. Thomas Joiner, Florida State University, Department of Psychology. Dr. Joiner is one of the nation's most respected mental health specialists. He has made it his life's mission to understand not only why someone will take their own life, but to identify the signs of deep depression and what traits may lead to suicide.

When Dr. Joiner was 25 years old, he lost his own father to suicide. At that time, he was already on a road to becoming a well-respected mental health practitioner.

"We aren't there yet; we have about twenty to thirty years to go before we truly understand the complexities of the human brain. It bothers me deeply every time I hear of a suicide. I fully understand the pain the family is left to deal with."

We also had an in-depth conversation about happiness and what it means to be happy.

Dr. Joiner offered several thoughts and, even, some very basic ideas.

"I'm happy to get up in the mornings and I'm able to dress and fee myself. Any after that just makes life that much better. I really don't concern myself with 'am I happy or not.'"

Dr. Joiner delved deeply into the animal kingdom, giving examples of harmonious life amongst other living creatures. "We are learning a great deal about positive energy from other species."

Our hour-long talk will be a part of our film Death is Not the Answer. Dr. Joiner will be the keynote speaker at the conference on April 7 hosted by Kevin's Song. We will premiere the film on this evening.

To learn about the conference, please go to