And the Emmy goes to…MSU’s psychology department!

And the Emmy goes to…MSU’s psychology department!

STARKVILLE, Miss.— Two Mississippi State University psychology faculty members won a prestigious Emmy Award at the 2023 Southeast Emmy Awards in Atlanta, Georgia this spring for their film about suicide prevention.

Psychology Associate Professor Michael R. Nadorff, who also is director of MSU’s Clinical Ph.D. Program, and Assistant Clinical Professor Emily S.H. Stafford, also director of MSU’s Psychology Clinic, received an Emmy for their production, “Justin,” a film about the causes and impacts of youth suicide in Mississippi, produced by Senior Documentary and Special Projects Producer James Parker and UTC Director David Garraway.

To view the film, visit

MSU’s University Television Center, who filmed, edited and produced the psychology department’s award-winning film, also won four additional Emmys this year, marking an impressive run of 17 total Emmy wins in the last three years. For more, visit

Nadorff and Stafford are using a portion of nearly $2-million in funds from two grants—a campus-level and a state-level Garett Lee Smith youth suicide prevention grant—to produce a mini-series aimed at preventing suicide, with plans to produce three or four videos in the series.

“One of the things I love about this grant is the opportunity to reach Mississippians in their communities. This grant provides free onsite education and training for individuals working with children and adolescents. The television series is another way we continue to spread the message of suicide prevention and mental wellness across the state,” said Stafford.

Nadorff and Stafford—whose research at MSU centers around suicide prevention—work with the community in various prevention trainings and said one of the reasons they are creating television episodes is to have content for trainings that is professional-quality and helps bring the topics to life.  

“That is where a story like Justin’s is very helpful,” Nadorff said. “In every audience, you have some people who think that suicide prevention isn’t important, or isn’t their job, so having a compelling video can help bring more people in and get more to engage in the training.”

Stafford said, “Don’t be afraid to discuss this topic with family and friends. Reach out to those around you and check–in. It’s a myth that by asking someone about thoughts of suicide their risk is increased. Research shows the opposite.” 

Nadorff said they hope to use the mini-series to make suicide less of an abstract concept and help viewers understand how someone can get to the point of suicide. Also, they want the audience to know how to be involved in helping distressed individuals “get to the other side.”

Stafford said education and training are areas in which her department excels. “Partnering with the television studio is a novel way to reach a different audience. By bringing this topic into everyday conversation, we hope Mississippians reach out to the people they love. If folks are interested in learning more about suicide prevention, they can contact us for free on-site trainings.”

To learn more about the Department of Psychology’s suicide prevention services, call 662-325-1222. 

“I think one of the cool things with the Emmy award is that it helps open so many doors for this work to get it more exposure,” said Nadorff, who has received approval for the video to now be part of the statewide suicide prevention conference, which draws several thousand mental health professionals every year.  

Nadorff said they plan to have the video shown on Mississippi Public Broadcasting.

For more details about the College of Arts and Sciences or Department of Psychology, visit and

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