About the Wilks Lab

Welcome to the Wilks Lab. We are interested in improving prevention and intervention methods for individuals at risk for suicide. We employ methods from psychological, computer, and data science.  

Broadly my research falls into two broad categories:

  1. Improving interventions for suicide
  2. Improving psychological interventions using technology 
 

1. Improving interventions for suicide

While the suicide field is grappling with the ever growing and complex phenomena of suicide and suicide prevention, individuals in need of treatment are persistently out of touch with potentially life saving interventions. Within this area, I am interested in understanding (1) why do people avoid treatment, (2) ways to increase access to interventions, (3) understanding for whom a specific intervention may work, and (4) understanding under which context a specific intervention may work. 

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Figure 1. For whom does a treatment work? Using clinical trial data, can we predict who may do better in one intervention compared to another intervention? 

 

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Figure 2. Under which contexts does a specific intervention work? Do people respond better to an intervention in the morning vs at night? What if people are in a bad mood? We can answer these questions using 'within samples' research methods.

  

2. Improving Psychological Interventions using Technology

The field of digital mental health has exploded over the past 20 years. Now you can't go five minutes without seeing a new app or digital mental health service. Unfortunately, it is quite complex to translate face-to-face psychotherapy into a method delivered in a small, 2 dimensional space (like a phone). However, we can improve the delivery of these interventions by thinking outside the box. Can we change behavior via more subtle ways? Can package therapy in a more attractive format (a Trojan Horse, so to speak)? In this way, I am interested in distilling the active ingredients of evidence-based therapy into the most potent chunks and deploying them into amendable packages. I tend to employ methods from human computer interaction.

 

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Figure 3. Human Computer Interaction to improve digital therapeutics

 

Interested in joining the team?

If you are interested in joining the Wilks lab as a graduate student, feel free to explore the clinical psychology admission site.

If you are interested in joining us as an RA, please fill out this form and we'll get back to you ASAP.