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Rocky Mountain MIRECC for VA Suicide Prevention


Updated: 22 March 2017

Rocky Mountain Short Takes on Suicide Prevention: Community Reintegration for Veterans after TBI

22 March 2018

March is Brain Injury Awareness Month, #BIAMonth, and in honor Adam Hoffberg talks with Dr. Suzanne McGarity, a Clinical Research Psychologist here with Rocky Mountain MIRECC, and who recently moved to Denver from the Tampa VA. In honor of March being Brain Injury Awareness Month we wanted to discuss a recent paper of Suzanne’s that came out in the Journal of Head Trauma Rehabilitation. The article is titled “Community Reintegration Problems Among Veterans and Active Duty Service Members With Traumatic Brain Injury.” The papers findings “highlight the ongoing rehabilitation needs of persons with TBI, specifically evidence-based mental healthcare, in comprehensive rehabilitation programs consistent with a chronic disease management model.”

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

Published: Epidemiology and prognosis of mild traumatic brain injury in returning soldiers - A cohort study

21 March 2017

Dr. Lisa Brenner published this article with an impressive list of co-authors in the March 2017 of Neurology. The article is part of a larger study that will continue monitoring this group of returning soldiers from Afghanistan and Iraq. This article is at a 3 month follow-up; there will be future follow-up at 6 and 12 months. The study reports that 47% of the soldiers who had sustained a mild TBI reported at their 3 month follow-up postconcussive symptoms (PCS). Most commonly the symptoms were sleep problems, forgetfulness, irritability and headaches. Learn more DOI: 10.1212/WNL.0000000000003839.

Rocky Mountain Short Takes on Suicide Prevention: Talking Community Response with Denver Co-Responder Team Program

8 March 2017

How communities respond to a mental health concern or crisis may directly contribute to consumer perception, potential stigma, and willingness to engage in help-seeking behavior. This week’s Rocky Mountain MIRECC Short Takes podcast highlights a local program invested in proactively reaching out to individuals who may experience mental health challenges, and build healthy relationships that better serve community members both in crisis and for the long haul. Please join Scott Snow (Director of the Crisis Services Division, Denver Police Department) and Chris Richardson (Program Manager of the Mental Health Center of Denver) as they talk about Denver’s Crisis Intervention and Response Unit (CIRU). Here is some of what they discuss:

  • The program’s origins and goals
  • How the Co-Responder program changes an old cycle of “wash, rinse repeat”
  • Going beyond crisis response to linking citizens to needed services
  • Diverting mental health from justice-involved and/or jail
  • Tracking the outcomes, how’s it working so far
  • Greatest successes and ways to improve

The podcast is approximately 24 minutes long.

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

Categories: Suicide Prevention

Rocky Mountain Short Takes on Suicide Prevention: Colonel Carl Castro, PhD on the Military Suicide Transition Theory, The Hemingway Effect and the Importance of Understanding the Military Family

22 February 2017

Adam interviews Dr. Carl Castro, retired Colonel from the US Army, about his extensive work in area of suicide prevention, especially as it relates to the military community. Their conversation is far ranging but really does a wonderful job discussing transitions as a way to understand suicide in the military community. Dr. Castro also tells us about Ernest Hemingway, an army Veteran, and how his death can serve as a paradigm to understand the suicide death of elderly Veterans.

The podcast is approximately 32 minutes long.

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

Categories: Suicide Prevention

Published: Initial Validation of the Self-Directed Violence Picture System (SDVPS)

21 February 2017

Out this week in Psychological Assessment is an article from three of our investigators: Sarra Nazem PhD, Jeri Forster PhD and Lisa Brenner PhD, ABPP. The article explores a novel approach to assist in identifying persons with suicidal ideation who will and will not go on to engage in self-directed violence (SDV). In our recent podcast with Craig Bryan PhD makes clear it is imperative that we be able to determine amongst the many who experience suicidal ideation from those who will go on to engage in SDV behaviors.

Dr. Nazem's approach builds on the work by Matthew Nock PhD at Harvard and Sean Barnes PhD here at RMIRECC using the Implicit Association Test (IAT). Dr. Nazem has substituted images for text to to measure the associated response. This intial study demonstrates that the images elicited a a stronger response than text in the expected positive, negative and neutral directions.

If you are a researcher interested in using SDVPS please contact us.

Learn more about the publication DOI: 10.1037/pas0000448

Published: Perceived Burdensomeness, Thwarted Belongingness, and Fearlessness about Death: Associations With Suicidal Ideation among Female Veterans Exposed to Military Sexual Trauma

13 February 2017

Rocky Mountain MIRECC for Suicide Prevention researchers Lindsey Monteith PhD and Nasi Bahraini Phd along with Deleene Menefee PhD from South Central MIRECC published this article in the February issue of Journal of Clinical Psychology.

The study of female Veterans with a history of military sexual trauma strived to see whether aspects from the interpersonal-psychological theory of suicide might be applied to suicidal ideation within this group. Studies before this one often looked at the psychological aftermath of the trauma. The researchers here wanted to see if a well-established theory helped better understand the outcomes within the group. The study found that the constructs perceived burdensomeness and fearlessness about death were associated with suicidal ideation. For clinicians working with this group of Veterans it is important to examine these particular areas.

Find the paper at DOI: 10.1002/jclp.22462

Listen to Dr. Monteith discuss her earlier work on MST in this podcast:
and watch for next podcast to drop soon!

Published: Connecting Veterans at Risk for Suicide to Care Through the HOME Program

10 February 2017

Rocky Mountain MIRECC researchers Bridget B. Matarazzo PsyD, Melodi Billera LCSW, Jeri E. Forster PhD, and Lisa A. Brenner PhD, ABPP (Rp) published an article in Suicide and Life-Threatening Behavior titled "Connecting Veterans at Risk for Suicide to Care Through the HOME Program."

The HOME (Home-Based Mental Health Evaluation) program "engages veterans in care following psychiatric hospitalization." The HOME program recognizes that the transition from psychiatric hospitalization to home is a high risk time for Veterans, for anyone. The study explored whether providing some in-home contact during this period might reduce this risk. The study is encouraging because it "suggest that the HOME program is effective at engaging veterans in care during the high-risk period of time following psychiatric hospitalization."

Read more on the HOME program
Find the article using DOI: 10.1111/sltb.12334

Rocky Mountain Short Takes on Suicide Prevention: Collaborative Safety Planning for Older Adults

8 February 2017

This week join Adam Hoffberg as he chats with Dr. Elizabeth Conti a clinical psychologist and Postdoctoral Research Fellow with the VA Center for Innovation. Dr. Conti, along with four of her colleagues from the VA’s South Central MIRECC published the manual Collaborative Safety Planning for Older Adults. Dr. Conti gives a wonderful overview of what a safety plan is and leads our audience through creating one. Then she answers why safety planning with older adults’ presents challenges that clinician’s need to address in their practice. Throughout the conversation Elizabeth describes a collaborative approach that harkens to the work of Dr. David Jobes. This is a podcast where clinicians will gain a deeper appreciation of the safety plan and be able to use the skills learned in their everyday practice.

The podcast is approximately 24 minutes long.

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

Categories: Suicide Prevention

Study Recruitment:
Diet in Male Veterans in Colorado with Multiple Sclerosis (MS)

19 January 2017

We are now recruiting for the study Diet in Male Veterans in Colorado with Multiple Sclerosis (MS) COMIRB#: 15-1369.

This study is looking into whether dietary factors play a role in quality of life for male Veterans with MS. Participation in this study involves a 2-hour visit at the Denver, Golden or Colorado Springs Veterans Affairs facilities in which you will be filling out questionnaires. Compensation will be provided.

For more information about this study or to schedule an appointment, please call Daniel Hadidi at 303-399-8020 ext. 4714.


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.