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Denise “Dee” Yookong Williams (they/them)

Ph.D. Candidate
Graduate Research Assistant

Denise “Dee” Yookong Williams (they/them), Ph.D. Student and Graduate Research Assistant


Tate-Turner-Kuralt Building

Suite 400

325 Pittsboro Street

UNC Campus Box 3550

Chapel Hill, NC 27599

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Denise “Dee” Yookong Williams (they/them) is a Ph.D. Candidate at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Denise’s clinical experience in treatment foster care, private practice, community-based outpatient mental health clinics, and in the Baltimore City and Baltimore County public school systems fostered their passion for culturally relevant, accessible mental health treatment with a focus on trauma, crisis intervention, suicide prevention, and resiliency, from a social-justice framework. While Denise has worked extensively with individuals and families across the lifespan, their areas of research interest include mental health (e.g., depression, anxiety, and suicidality) and intersectionality, with a focus on BIPOC and LGBTQAI+ adolescent youth, to better understand experiences and disparities to create more evidence-based interventions within the community and school systems. Denise is especially interested in art-based interventions and infusing various modalities to treat individuals and families holistically. Their research assistantship is supervised by Dr. William J. Hall.

Degrees and Licenses

MSW, University of Maryland
BS, Family and Human Services, Towson University



Research and Professional Interests

Adolescent Youth Suicide Prevention and Postvention
LGBTQAI+ Mental Health
BIPOC Mental Health
School-Based Mental Health Interventions

Recent Publications

Williams, D. Y., Hall, W. J., Dawes, H. C., Rizo, C. F., Goldbach, J. T. (2022). An integrated conceptual model to understand suicidality among queer youth to inform suicide prevention. Societies, 12(6), 170. 

Dawes, H. C., Williams, D. Y., Klein, L. B., Hirst, L. E., Forte, A. B., Gibbs, D. J., & Hall, W. J. (in press). Experiences of queer people of color in mental health services and substance use treatment services: A systematic review. Journal of the Society for Social Work and Research.

Williams, D. Y., Wexler, L., & Mueller, A. (2022). Suicide postvention in schools: What evidence support our current national recommendations? School Social Work Journal, 46(2), 23-69.

Hall, W. J., Williams, D. Y., Dawes, H. C., Adams, L. B., & Merino, Y. M. (2022). Implicit attitudes and implicit bias in mental health. In H. S. Friedman, C. N. Markey, & W. Lu (Eds.), Encyclopedia of mental health (3rd ed.). Elsevier.

Williams, D. Y., Hall, W. J., Dawes, H. C., Srivastava, A., Radtke, S. R., Bouchard, D., & Chen, W. (in preparation). The relationship between internalized stigma and depression and suicide risk among queer youth in the United States: A systematic review and meta-analysis. 

Presentations, Workshops and Media

Williams, D. Y. (2021, November). Trauma-informed practice: A brief overview of clinical interventions. Presented virtually to Master of Social Work graduate students at University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, N.C.

Heimerman, C. (Host). 2021, September 28. Denise Williams (No. 38) [Audio podcast episode]. In 40,000 Steps. Apple Podcasts.

Williams, D. Y., LaFountain, S.E., Salapata, C., & Matthews, J. (2021, January). Building emotional resilience during a pandemic: Self-care strategies presented by the Social Emotional Learning Team. Presented virtually to the faculty of Winfield Elementary, Baltimore, MD.

Salapata, C., Matthews, J., LaFountain, S.E., & Williams, D. Y. (2020, September). Self-care during the COVID-19 pandemic. Presented virtually to the faculty of Winfield Elementary, Baltimore, MD.

Williams, D. Y., Salapata, C., & Matthews, J. (2020, January). Mindfulness for parents and children. Presented to the families and students of Winfield Elementary during family engagement night, Baltimore, MD.