Kurt D. Michael


Former PI: ASC Center University-School Partnerships     WATCH VIDEO about the ASC Center

Associate Editor: Journal of Rural Mental Health 

Course Resources:

Research Interests

  • Rural school mental health
  • Suicide prevention in K-12 schools
  • Counseling on access to lethal means (CALM)
  • Collaborative Assessment and Management of Suicidality (CAMS)
  • Meta-analysis 

Born and raised in Denver, Colorado, Dr. Michael received his bachelor’s from the University of Colorado at Boulder. He worked in youth corrections and the addictions fields before earning a Master of Science and Ph.D. in Clinical-School Psychology from Utah State University. Kurt completed his Resident Internship in Child Clinical Psychology at Duke University Medical Center, after which he joined the Psychology Faculty at Appalachian State University in Boone, North Carolina 1999. Dr. Michael served Appalachian for 23 years and established and sustained a nationally recognized program of funded research and clinical practice in school mental health, adolescent suicidology, and rural healthcare. He conceived, developed, and sustained University School Partnerships and training sites called Assessment, Support, and Counseling (ASC) Centers which serve between 10% and 30% of the student populations in local rural schools.  He also published several meta-analytic studies across various types of treatment trials, including a large, comprehensive review of the effectiveness of antidepressants for youth that appeared in The Lancet.

While at App, Dr. Michael became deeply invested in regional efforts to prevent and intervene with teenagers who are at risk for suicide, including the development of a systematic method of surveillance and assessment in schools called the Prevention of Escalating Adolescent Crisis Events (PEACE) Protocol, using the Counseling on Access to Lethal Means (CALM) approach, and implementing interventions such as the Collaborative Assessment and Management of Suicidality (CAMS) Model. The PEACE protocol has been adapted for use in other locations around the country, including rural communities and the Fort Peck Reservation in Montana, where existing resources and professional expertise are interconnected within each area. A summary of the Montana Project (Belhumeur et al., 2017) was published in the Handbook of Rural Mental Health, edited by Dr. Michael and Dr. JP Jameson.

During the summer of 2022, He retired as the Stanley R. Aeschleman Distinguished Professor of Psychology to take on the role of Senior Clinical Director of the JED Foundation, a mental health non-profit based in New York City with the mission of protecting the emotional health and preventing suicide among the nation’s youth. At the JED Foundation, Dr. Michael has maintained his research agenda of discovering new knowledge about rural school mental health (SMH) and adolescent suicidology. At the same time, he has developed new priorities with JED colleagues in evaluating systemic approaches to preventing suicide death and scaling technical assistance and strategic approaches in supporting youth mental health nationwide, including the CALM approach (referenced above).


  • Clinical Psychology Internship, 1999, Duke University Medical Center
  • Ph.D., 1999, Utah State University, Psychology
  • M.S., 1997, Utah State University, Psychology
  • B.A., 1988, University of Colorado at Boulder, Psychology, cum laude

Representative Publications

* = student author

Sugg, M.M., Runkle, J., *Hajnos, S.N., Green, S., & Michael, K.D. (in press). Understanding the concurrent risk of mental health and dangerous wildfire events in the COVID-19 pandemic. Science of the Total Environment.

Runkle, J., *Yadav, S., Michael, K.D., Green, S., Weiser, J., Sugg. M.M. (in press). Crisis response and suicidal patterns in U.S. Youth before and during COVID-19: A latent class analysis. Journal of Adolescent Health.

Sugg, M.M., Runkle, J. *Andersen, L, Weiser, J, & Michael, K. D. (in press). Crisis response among essential workers and their children during the COVID-19 pandemic. Preventive Medicine.

Runkle, J.D., Sugg, M.M., *Yadav, S., *Harden, S., Weiser J., & Michael, K. D. (in press). Real-time mental health crisis response in US to COVID-19: Insights from a national text-based platform. Crisis: The Journal of Crisis Intervention and Suicide Prevention.

Sulkowski, M. L., & Michael, K. D. (2020). Introduction to the special issue. School and life experiences of highly mobile students: Phenomenology, risk, and resilience. Psychology in the Schools, 57, 1791-1797. https://doi.org/10.1002/pits.22445

Runkle, J., Michael, K. D., Stevens, S., & Sugg, M. (2021). Quasi-Experimental Evaluation of Text-based Crisis Patterns in Youth following Hurricane Florence in the Carolinas, 2018. Science of the Total Environment, (1) 750https://doi.org/10.1016/j.scitotenv.2020.141702

Michael, K. D. (2020). Youth Mental Health in North Carolina. North Carolina Medical Journal81, 101. doi:10.18043/ncm.81.2.101

*Rosen, M., Michael, K.D., & Jameson, JP (2020). CALM gatekeeper training is associated with increased confidence in utilizing means reduction approaches to suicide prevention among college resident assistants. Journal of American College Health. https://doi.org/10.1080/07448481.2020.1756825

*Capps, R. E., Michael, K.D., & Jameson, J.P. (2019). Providing school-based mental health services in rural and remote settings. In J. Gullifer, L. Roufeil, & T. A. Carey (Eds.) Handbook of rural and remote mental health. New York, NY: Springer. 

*Capps, R.E., Michael, K.D., & Jameson, J.P. (2019). Lethal means and adolescent suicide risk: An expansion of the PEACE Protocol. Journal of Rural Mental Health, 43 (1), 3-16, doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/rmh0000108 

*Kirk, A., Michael, K.D., Bergman, S., *Schorr, M., & Jameson, JP (2019). Dose response effects of cognitive-behavioral therapy in a rural school mental health program. Cognitive and Behaviour Therapy, 48, 497-516doi.org/10.1080/16506073.2018.1550527

Sugg, M.M., Michael, K.D., Stevens, S.E., Filbin, B., Weiser, J., & Runkle, J.R. (2019). Crisis events in youth following celebrity suicides and the release of 13 Reasons Why Season 2: A case study of summer 2018. Preventive Medicine Reports, 16, 1-5. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.pmedr.2019.100999

*Thompson, L.K., Michael, K.D., Runkle, J.R., & Sugg, M.M (2019). Crisis Text Line use following the release of Netflix Series 13 Reasons Why Season 1: Time series analysis of help-seeking behavior in youth. Preventive Medicine Reports, 14, 1-4.  https://doi.org/10.1016/j.pmedr.2019.100825

Michael, K.D., & Jameson, J.P. (Eds.) Handbook of rural school mental health (2017). New York, NY: Springer. Ordering Info [PDF]

Michael, K.D., Jameson, J.P., & *Capps, E. (2017). Preface: Making the case for rural school mental health.  In K.D. Michael, & J.P. Jameson (Eds.) Handbook of rural school mental health. New York, NY: Springer.

Belhumeur, J., Butts, E., Michael, K.D., Zieglowsky, S.,DeCoteau, D., Four Bear, D., Crawford, C., Gourneau, R., Bighorn, E., Ryan, K., & Farber, L. (2017). Adapting crisis intervention protocols: Rural and tribal voices from Montana. In K.D. Michael, & J.P. Jameson (Eds.) Handbook of rural school mental health. New York, NY: Springer.

*Orlando, C., *Albright Bode, A., Michael, K.D. (2017). Depression and rural school mental health: Best practices. In K.D. Michael, & J.P. Jameson (Eds.) Handbook of rural school mental health. New York, NY: Springer.

Michael, K.D., George, M. W., *Splett, J. W., Jameson, JP, *Sale, R., *Bode, A. A., Iachini, A. L., Taylor, L. K., & Weist, M. D. (2016). Preliminary outcomes of a multi-site, school-based modular intervention for adolescents experiencing mood difficulties.  Journal of Child and Family Studies, 25(6), 1903-1915https://doi.org/10.1007/s10826-016-0373-1

Cipriani A, Zhou X, Del Giovane C, Hetrick SE, Qin B, Whittington C, Coghill D, Zhang Y, Hazell P, Leucht S, Cuijpers P, Pu J, Cohen D,Ravindran AV, Liu Y, Michael KD, Yang L, Liu L, Xie P. (2016). Comparative efficacy and tolerability of antidepressants for major depression in children and adolescents: a network meta-analysis. The Lancet, 388(10047), 881-90. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/S0140-6736(16)30385-3

Michael, K.D., Jameson, JP, *Sale, R., Orlando, C., *Schorr, M., *Brazille, M., Stevens, A., & Massey, C. (2015). A revision and extension of the Prevention of Escalating Adolescent Crisis Events (PEACE) protocol. Children and Youth Services Review, 59, 57-62. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.childyouth.2015.10.014

Daly, B., Jameson, JP, Patterson, F., *McCurdy, M., *Kirk, A., & Michael, K. D. (2015). Sleep duration, adolescent mental health and substance use among rural adolescents: Developmental correlates. Journal of Rural Mental Health, 39, 108-122http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/rmh0000033

*Zhou, X., Hetrick, S. E., Cuijpers, P., Qin, B., Barth, J., Whittington, C., Cohen, D., Del Giovane, C., Liu, Y, Michael, K.D.,Zhang, Y., Weisz, J., & Xie, P. (2015).  Efficacy and acceptability of psychotherapies for depression in children and adolescents: A systematic review and network meta-analysis. World Psychiatry, 14, 207-222

Qin, B., *Zhou, X., Michael, K.D., Liu, Y, Whittington, C., Cohen, D., Zhang, Y., & Xie, P. (2015). Psychotherapy for depression in children and adolescents: Study protocol for a systematic review and network meta-analysis. British Medical Journal Open, 5http://bmjopen.bmj.com/content/5/2/e005918

*Zhou, X., Qin, B., Whittington, C., Cohen, D., Liu, Y., Del Giovane, C., Michael, K.D., Zhang, Y., & Xie, P. (2015). Comparative efficacy and acceptability of first- and newer-generation antidepressants for depressive disorders in children and adolescents: Study protocol for a systematic review and network meta-analysis. British Medical Journal Open, 5http://bmjopen.bmj.com/content/5/9/e007768

*Orlando, C. M., Broman-Fulks, J. J., Whitlock, J., Curtin, L., & Michael, K. D. (2015).  Non-suicidal self-injury and suicidal self-injury: A taxometric investigation. Behavior Therapy. 46(6), 824-33. doi.org/10.1016/j.beth.2015.01.002

*Eddy, L. D., Canu, W. H., Broman-Fulks, J. J., & Michael, K. D. (2015). Brief cognitive behavioral therapy for college students with ADHD: A case series report. Cognitive and Behavioral Practice, 22, 17-30. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.cbpra.2014.05.005

*Zhou, X., Michael, K.D., Liu, Y., Del Giovane, C., Qin, B., Cohen, D., Gentile, S., & Xie, P. (2014). Systematic review of management for treatment-resistant depression in adolescents.  BioMed Central Psychiatry, 14, 340. http://www.biomedcentral.com/1471-244X/14/340

Sulkowski, M. L., & Michael, K. D. (2014). Meeting the mental health needs of homeless students in schools: A multi-tiered system of support framework. Children and Youth Services Review, 44, 145-151http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.childyouth.2014.06.014

*Splett, J. W., Michael, K. D., Minard, C., Stevens, R., Johnson, L., Reynolds, H., *Farber, K., & Weist, M.W. (2014). State of the Carolinas: Implementing school mental health and positive behavioral interventions and supports. Report on Emotional & Behavioral Disorders in Youth, 14, 87-94.

*Stevens, A., & Michael, K.D. (2014). Trauma-focused cognitive behavioral therapy applied to childhood traumatic grief in the aftermath of a motor-vehicle accident: A school-based case study. Clinical Case Studies, 13, 405-422.

*Sale, R., Michael, K.D., Egan, T., *Stevens, A., & Massey, C. (2014). Low base rate, high impact: Responding to teen suicidal threat in rural Appalachia. Report on Emotional & Behavioral Disorders in Youth, 14(1), 4-8.

Michael, K. D., *Albright, A., Jameson, J.P., *Sale, R., Massey, C. S.,  *Kirk, A., & Egan, T.E. (2013). Does cognitive-behavioral therapy in the context of a rural school mental health program have an impact on academic outcomes? Advances in School Mental Health Promotion, 6, 247-262.

Michael, K. D., Bernstein, S., Owens, J., *Albright, A., & Anderson-Butcher, D. (2014). Preparing school mental health professionals: Competencies in interdisciplinary and cross-systems collaboration. In Weist, M., Lever, N, Bradshaw, C., & Owens, J. (Eds.) Handbook of school mental health (2nd Edition), 31-43.

*Albright, A., Michael, K. D., Massey, C. S., *Sale, R., *Kirk, A., & Egan, T.E. (2013). An evaluation of an interdisciplinary rural school mental health program in Appalachia. Advances in School Mental Health Promotion, 6, 189-202.

Canu, W. H., *Tabor, L. S., Michael, K. D., Bazzini, D. G., & Elmore, A. L. (2013). Young adult romantic couples' conflict resolution and satisfaction varies with partner's ADHD Type. Journal of Marital and Family Therapy. Advance online publication. doi: 10.1111/jmft.12018

Owens, J. S., *Watabe, Y., & Michael, K.D. (2013). Culturally responsive school mental health in rural communities. In: Clauss-Ehlers, C. S., Serpell, Z., & Weist, M. D. (Eds.) Handbook of culturally responsive school mental health: Advancing research, training, practice, and policy, 31-42.

Michael, K. D., Payne-Smith, L. O., & *Albright, A. (2012). An adaptation of the Coping Cat Program: The successful treatment of a 6 year-old boy with generalized anxiety disorder. Clinical Case Studies, 11, 426-440.

Michael, K.D. (2011). Most adolescents achieve longer term remission from major depressive disorder regardless of type of short-term second-line treatment: Commentary. Evidence Based Mental Health, 14 (3), 85.

*Barnard, K., Broman-Fulks, J.J., Michael, K.D., Webb, R.M., *Zawilinski, L.L. (2011). The effects of physiological arousal on cognitive and psychomotor performance among individuals with high and low anxiety sensitivity. Anxiety, Stress, and Coping, 201-216.

Michael, K.D., Renkert, L., Winek, J. & *Massey, C. (2010). So you don't just take babies? Debunking discipline-specific stereotypes and other lessons about true interdisciplinary collaboration. The Community Psychologist, 43, 18-20.

Alexander-Bratcher, K., Michael, K., Wandler, J., & Quick, A. (2010). Assessment, Support, and Counseling Center. North Carolina Medical Journal, 71, 389-390.

*Bolger, K., *Carter, K., Curtin, L., Martz, D.M., Gagnon, S.G., & Michael, K.D. (2010). Motivational interviewing for smoking cessation among college students. Journal of College Student Psychotherapy, 24, 116-129.

Michael, K. D., Renkert, L. E., Wandler, J., & Stamey, T. (2009). Cultivating a new harvest: Rationale and preliminary results from a growing interdisciplinary rural school mental health program. Advances in School Mental Health Promotion, 2, 40-50.

Michael, K.D., Furr, R.M., Masters, K.S., Collett, B.R., Spielmans, G.I., *Ritter, K., Veeder, M.A., Treiber, K., & Cullum, J.L. (2009). Using the MMPI-2 to predict symptom reduction during psychotherapy in a sample of community outpatients.Journal of Contemporary Psychotherapy, 39, 157-163.

Michael, K. D. (2008). Psychoactive substance use disorders. In S. F. Davis & W. Buskist (Eds.). 21st century psychology.(pp. 307-317). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.

Michael, K. D., Curtin, L., Kirkley, D., Jones, D., & Harris, R. (2006). Group-based motivational interviewing for alcohol use among college students: An exploratory study. Professional Psychology: Research and Practice, 37, 629-634.

Michael, K. D. (2006). What I Think I May Have Learned—Reflections on 50 Years of Teaching: An Interview with Michael Wertheimer. Teaching of Psychology, 33, 280-287.

Michael, K. D., Huelsman, T. J., *Gerard, C., *Gilligan, T., & *Gustafson, M. (2006). Depression among college students: Trends in prevalence and treatment seeking. Counseling and Clinical Psychology Journal, 3, 60-70.

Michael, K. D. (2006). Cognitive-behavioral treatment of obsessive-compulsive disorder: A case of prolonged tooth brushing. Clinical Case Studies, 5, 331-344.

Michael, K. D., Huelsman, T. J. , & Crowley, S. L. (2005). Interventions for child and adolescent depression: Do professional therapists produce better results? Journal of Child and Family Studies, 14, 223-236.

*Wallus, D., Martz, D., Huelsman, T., & Michael, K. (2005). Effects of carbohydrates on mood in the presence of intense physical exercise. Journal of Worry & Affective Experience, 1, 4-14.

*Gerard, C., Michael, K. D., & Gerard, J. (2005). Examining practice patterns of emergency physicians through the use of simulated patient vignettes, Annals of Emergency Medicine, 46:3 (Supplement 1), 100.

*Psujek, J., Martz, D., Curtin, L., Michael, K., & Aeschleman, S. (2004). An investigation into the association between nicotine dependence, body image, depression, and anxiety within a college population according to gender. Addictive Behaviors, 29, 375-380.

Michael, K. D. (2004). A winding (and sereptitious) road to electicism: Practitioner commentary 13.2. In J. Sommers-Flanagan and R. Sommers-Flanagan (Eds.), Counseling and Psychotherapy Theories in Context and Practice (p. 465). Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons.

Michael, K. D. (2004). Behavioral treatment of trichotillomania: A case study. Clinical Case Studies, 3, 171-182.

Michael, K. D., & Crowley, S. L. (2002). How effective are treatments for child and adolescent depression? A meta-analytic review. Clinical Psychology Review, 22, 247-269.

Michael, K. D., & Merrell, K. W. (1998). The reliability of children's self-reported internalizing symptoms over brief- to medium- length time intervals. Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, 37, 194-201.

Merrell, K. W., Anderson, K. E., & Michael, K. D. (1997). Convergent validity of the Internalizing Symptoms Scale for Children with three self-report measures of internalizing problems. Journal of Psychoeducational Assessment, 15, 56-66.

Grants and Contracts

  • Co-PI (Co-PIs Sugg & Runkle; 2020-2022). American Foundation of Suicide Prevention Grant, Exploring Place-Based Differences in Adolescent Suicide, Mental Health, and Suicide Mechanism Along the Rural-Urban Continuum. 
  • PI (with Co-PI JP Jameson), US Department of Education Grant (2019-24), in partnership with Ashe County Schools (Jamie Little, Project Director) and RTI International (PI Anna Yaros) to scale up the school mental health workforce preparation and retention in rural North Carolina.  
  • PI (with Co-I Jacqueline Hersh), Institute of Education Sciences (IES) Goal 2 Grant (2019-23); Sub-Award to the University of Virginia IES Grant (C. Bradshaw, PI). Develop, pilot test, and scale up the Coping Power Intervention in rural schools.  
  • Co-PI (with Lead PI JP Jameson) on a school safety grant funded by the NC Department of Public Instruction. 
    • $97,000 (2018-19) to cover the costs of training school staff in western NC schools on how to effectively implement Counseling on Access to Lethal Means (CALM) principles. 
    • Objective: Scale up regional capacity to provide sustainable CALM trainings in western NC.
  • PI (with Denise Lovin) on training grant funded by the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP), North Carolina Chapter
    • $19,150 (2017) to cover the costs of training in Collaborative Assessment and Management of Suicidality (CAMS)
    • Objectives: Scale up regional capacity to provide CAMS interventions for community constituents
  • PI on U.S. Department of Health and Human Services grant via NC Department of Public Instruction
    • $1,107,695 over 5 years (2011-2015; 211k – 247k per year)
    • Objectives: Development of a behavioral health promotion model of intervention (ASC Center) to address specific target variables in 3 rural western North Carolina county school districts.
  • PI on external contracts funded by Ashe County Schools
    • $105,600 for operational expenses (2012-18)
    • Objectives: Provide mental health services through the Appalachian State University in partnership with Ashe County County High School (Assessment, Support, and Counseling Center; ASC).
  • PI on an external contract funded continuously since 2009 by the Watauga County Schools
    • $197,500 for operational expenses (2008-2018)
    • Objectives: Provide interdisciplinary mental health services through the Appalachian State University in partnership with Watauga County High School (Assessment, Support, and Counseling Center; ASC).
  • Co-PI or Co-I (with Grizzard, Giordano, and/or Horine) on series of contracts and grants (Strategic Prevention Framework-State Incentive Grant): sponsored by Smoky Mountain Center LME and the NC Division for Mental Health, Developmental Disabilities, and Substance Abuse Services, and the Center for Substance Abuse Prevention.
    • $348,401 (2007-2011)
    • Objectives: Preventing Alcohol-Related Crashes and Fatalities (or PARC)

Honors and Awards

Title: Former Stanley R. Aeschleman Distinguished Professor
Department: Department of Psychology

Email address: Email me