Hello! My name is Quintin Hunt and I am second-year PhD student in the Family Social Science program with a specialization in Couple and Family Therapy and the University of Minnesota. I also practice clinically as a Marriage and Family Therapist.
I am strongly committed to understanding and supporting families as I believe that through family-based intervention we can best prevent a great deal of mental and behavioral challenges that may arise—depression and suicide are the two foremost issues I have most interest in preventing.
This project came about as an evolution from my Master’s thesis at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas (Go Rebels!) in which I interviewed survivors of suicide loss about their experiences. During this process—and my work as a therapist—it became clear to me how important it was to understand the processes within families that lead to and prevent suicidal thoughts or actions.
I saw this happen too often in families with sexual minority youth. Through researching, writing, and presenting about the profound implications of suicide on families (both after suicide loss and leading up to suicide), I was introduced to Dr. Jenifer McGuire, who is serving as my on-campus mentor for this project.
Through this fellowship, I am analyzing 90 qualitative interviews with trans-identified youth throughout nine cities and three countries that were previously conducted by Dr. McGuire’s research team. While each interview is from one to two hours, I will be analyzing only the sections of the interviews that discuss suicide and self-harm. While suicide was not the specific aim of these interviews, there was a great deal of discussion about it. It is my hope to use these interviews to better understand these experiences of suicide and how prevention efforts can be better tailored for trans-identified youth.
Spending hours and hours listening to and analyzing stories of depression and suicide is emotionally draining. The best way, I know how to deal with this is to go home to my family. Just like I believe in the protective power of loving families academically and clinically I see this in my own life.
I spend most of my free time on walks, playing at the park, or snuggling with my 8-week-old baby. While at times it can be stressful, I know of no better way to calm my own stresses or anxieties but also to put what I preach into direct practice. I am sure my children will have war stories about being their father’s test subjects (I know my partner already does) but I hope our relationship will be one in which they are able to express themselves—and these stories—without fear of being rejected by their family.