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Rocky Mountain MIRECC for VA Suicide Prevention


Updated: 17 January 2017

RM MIRECC MVM CoRE Researcher Makes Top 10 List!

17 January 2017

Christopher Lowry, Co-Director of the Military and Veteran Microbiome: Consortium for Research and Education (MVMCoRE) and associate professor University of Colorado Department of Integrative Physiology, was acknowledged as contributing one of the top 10 studies that advances or breaks through mental health research.

The Brain & Behavior Research Foundation, one of the nation’s leading non-governmental funding source for mental health research, identified Dr. Lowry's research as a "potential game changer". The study, Immunization with a heat-killed preparation of the environmental bacterium Mycobacterium vaccae promotes stress resilience in mice, was published in May 2016 in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS).

We were lucky enough to catch up with Chris shortly after this article published and record a podcast. The podcast is 22 minutes long and should not be missed. Listen to Exploring the Possible Role of the Microbiome in Suicide.


Rocky Mountain Short Takes on Suicide Prevention: Working towards a better understanding of suicide loss

11 January 2017

Suicide is known as a rare event, yet the large number of those impacted by suicide (through exposure, and closer connections including bereavement) makes suicide loss relatable to every human. Preliminary research on suicide bereavement in Veterans and Military Families shows that military family members who have lost someone to suicide are at greater risk for depression, anxiety, and suicidal thoughts of their own. Melanie Hom, M.A., a clinical graduate student at Thomas Joiners’ Laboratory for the Study and Prevention of Suicide-Related Conditions continues this line of research, which she discusses with Adam in this week’s Short Takes podcast. Using common data elements aggregated across 15 studies funded by the Military Suicide Research Consortium, this study finds that the majority (over 50%) of service members and Veterans know someone who has died by suicide. Melanie shares findings about those affected by suicide loss, as well as important clinical implications and needed next steps for future research.

Related resources:

Resources for loved ones bereaved by suicide:

The podcast is approximately 25 minutes long.

You can subscribe to the RM Short Takes Podcast on iTunes, Google Play or your favorite podcasts tool.

Categories: Suicide Prevention

Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI) Awards Grant to Nathaniel Mohatt

6 January 2017

The Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI), an independent nonprofit, nongovernmental organization awarded a grant to Nathaniel (Nate) Mohatt, Research Psychologist, Rocky Mountain MIRECC; Assistant Professor, Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, University of Colorado Denver, for his study Coalition for Recovery and Innovation in Traumatic Brain Injury Care Across the Lifespan (CRITICAL).

Learn more about Nate and this research.


Rocky Mountain Short Takes on Suicide Prevention: Rehabilitation at the VA is a Team Sport, as is Suicide Prevention

28 December 2016

The VAs Polytrauma System of Care (PSC) represents the world’s largest, integrated model of traumatic brain injury (TBI) care. In this podcast, Adam catches up with Joel Scholten MD (widely known as @VATBIDoc on twitter) at this year’s annual American Congress of Rehabilitation Medicine conference to discuss PSC’s achievements. Joel describes the comprehensive system of rehabilitation care available to Veterans and their families, which strives to address often complicated care needs. These often range from TBI with co-morbid PTSD, pain, and other conditions that benefit from PSC’s individualized treatment plans and highly multi-disciplinary approach. Join Joel and Adam during the Chicago Cubs' victory parade as they discuss the VA’s team sport approach to rehabilitation and suicide prevention.

Supporting material:

The podcast is approximately 13 minutes long.

You can subscribe to the RM Short Takes Podcast on iTunes, Google Play or your favorite podcasts tool.

Categories: Suicide Prevention, Rehabilitation

Congressionally Directed Medical Research Programs Applauds Military Suicide Research Consortium for Recent Accomplishments from Cutting-Edge Studies

23 December 2016

"The Military Suicide Research Consortium (MSRC), co-directed by Drs. Pete Gutierrez and Thomas Joiner, was established in 2010 in an effort to coordinate and focus suicide research efforts across the Department of Defense (DoD) due to the increased rates of suicide in the military. The MSRC is focused on the discovery of scientific knowledge about suicidal behavior in the military, addressing relevant problems that may be solved with policy and/or practice, disseminating consortium knowledge, and training future leaders in military suicide research. The Denver Research Institute and Florida State University received additional funding this year in order to continue the consortium for 5 more years (see for abstract). With this additional funding, they aim to continue to produce highly valuable and mission-relevant deliverables in order to address the problem of suicide in the military."

Read more at the CDMRP website, especially about the last 7 research projects by such leaders in the field as Dr. Michael Anestis, Dr. Craig Bryan and Dr. Matthew Nock and on topics like "Computerized Anger Reduction Treatment for Suicide Prevention" and "Perceptual Retraining to Reduce Suicide Risk".

Learn more about MSRC at their website.

Rocky Mountain Short Takes on Suicide Prevention: Sleeping Well as an Upstream Approach to Suicide Prevention

14 December 2016

Could improved sleep potentially help prevent individuals from developing suicidal thoughts or behaviors sometime in the future? Rocky Mountain MIRECC Psychologist Sarra Nazem talks with Adam about her clinical work and research into evidence-based insomnia treatments as it relates to decreasing suicide risk. This topic is particularly relevant for providers working with Veterans and military, who experience sleep disturbances at increasingly high levels in the past decade. The good news: though insomnia is highly prevalent among Vets and military, it is also highly treatable. EB interventions such as SHUTi (Sleep Health Using the Internet) capitalize on a combination of high effectiveness and wide accessibility. Join Sarra and Adam as they discuss improving sleep as a way to increase hopefulness, and improve outcomes for other co-morbid conditions.

Supporting material:

The podcast is approximately 25 minutes long.

You can subscribe to the RM Short Takes Podcast on iTunes, Google Play or your favorite podcasts tool.

Categories: Suicide Prevention, Sleep

Congratulations! Home-Based Mental Health Evaluation (HOME) Program for Rural Veterans Selected as a Gold Status Practice

12 December 2016

The Under Secretary for Health (USH) announced that RM MIRECCs Home-Based Mental Health Evaluation (HOME) Program for Rural Veterans lead by Bridget Matarazzo, PsyD., has been selected as a Gold Status practice in the USH Second Shark Tank Competition. "The goal of the Diffusion of Excellence Initiative is to identify best practices, and adapt and replicate them at other sites of care to improve the experiences of Veterans and their families, as well as those who serve them. The initiative helps empower front-line employees to share best practices to effectively use existing resources and skills to make improvements." Learn more about the Diffusion of Excellence Initiative.

The Home-Based Mental Health Evaluation (HOME) program is a suicide prevention intervention for Veterans aimed at increasing treatment engagement and decreasing suicide risk following psychiatric hospitalization, a period of heightened suicide risk. Learn more about HOME.


See previous posts from Rocky Mountain MIRECC for Suicide Prevention

Our Mission

The mission of the Rocky Mountain MIRECC (Mental Illness Research, Education and Clinical Center) for Suicide Prevention is to study suicide with the goal of reducing suicidal ideation and behaviors in the Veteran population. Towards this end, the work of the Rocky Mountain MIRECC is focused on promising clinical interventions, as well as the cognitive and neurobiological underpinnings of suicidal thoughts and behaviors that may lead to innovative prevention strategies.

The vision of the Rocky Mountain MIRECC is: Veterans, their families, and the VHA will have increased information and options to make health decisions aimed at decreasing suicide risk.