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Rocky Mountain MIRECC for Suicide Prevention

Updated: 12 February 2016

RMIRECC Short Takes Podcast - Risk Factors, Warning Signs, and Drivers of Suicide

12 February 2016

Listen to our first podcast with Adam Hoffberg interviewing Dr. Peter Gutierrez regarding his latest publication "Risk Factors, Warning Signs, and Drivers of Suicide: What Are They, How Do They Differ, and Why Does It Matter?" in Suicide and Life-Threatening Behavior.


The podcast is approximately 26 minutes long.

RM MIRECC Participates in Summit - Preventing Veteran Suicide: A Call to Action

2 February 2016

On February 2, the VA hosted a national summit on Veteran suicide prevention. Veteran suicide impacts us. To fight it we need everyone, government and community stakeholders, working together. Everyone has a duty to help Veterans suffering from the hidden scars of military service that lead them to think suicide is their only option.

Much of the summit was captured by people in the audience tweeting, catching and retelling the many highlights. These tweets were then captured in a story, put together online by Storify. To read what was said by some of the leading experts in the field of suicide prevention and gain insight into stories told by Veterans open the story.

And you can follow RM MIRECC on Twitter: @RMIRECC as well many leading voices working to stop suicide.

RM MIRECC Social Workers Publish Military Culture and the Transition to Civilian Life: Suicide Risk and Other Considerations

27 January 2016

Rocky Mountain MIRECC for Suicide Prevention social workers Melodi Billera and Georgia Gerard along with James L. Pease published an important article for clinicians, especially civilian clinicians in the journal Social Work in late December.

The article presses the point that knowing and understanding military culture can help mental health clinicians provide culturally relevant care. This is all the more important during this time of military drawdown and as more service personnel transition to civilian life.

Please take a look at our TBI Toolkit for Providers section on Military/Veteran Culture and the VA Mental Health Services' Community Provider Toolkit for more resources.

Categories: Suicide Prevention; Clinicians; Military Culture

The Power of One: Maximizing a Public Health, Community-Based, and Holistic Approach to Suicide Prevention

26 January 2016

DoD/VA Suicide Prevention: The Public Health Approach Webinar Series Presents The Power of One: Maximizing a Public Health, Community-Based, and Holistic Approach to Suicide Prevention February 24, 2016, 2-3:30PM ET. Please join the Defense Suicide Prevention Office’s Dr. Adam Walsh, Ph.D., LCSW and the Department of Veteran Affairs’ Dr. Caitlin Thompson, Ph.D. as they discuss the Public Health, Community-Based, and Holistic Approach to Suicide Prevention.

Registration is free, just click here

Categories: Suicide Prevention; Community

The Denver VA and Rocky Mountain MIRECC Begin Research on Exoskeleton

20 January 2016

Research is beginning on an exoskeleton suit donated by SoldierStrong, a nonprofit that provides advanced medical technologies to veterans, to see what benefits, physically and psychologically, there may be. Dr. Lisa Brenner, Director of Rocky Mountain MIRECC for Suicide Prevention will lead the reserch in partnership with University of Colorado School of Medicine Department of Physical Mediine and Rehabilitation.

Channel 9News covered the event and has video and a story. And the Denver Post also did a nice write up.

Categories: Traumatic Brain Injury; Veterans

Risk Factors, Warning Signs and "Drivers": Can You Tell the Difference?

18 January 2016

Pete Gutierrez, PhD co-authored an article entitled "Risk Factors, Warning Signs, and Drivers of Suicide: What Are They, How Do They Differ, and Why Does It Matter?" in Suicide and Life-Threatening Behavior.

Research has highlighted many specific risk factors and warning signs for future suicidal behaviors. This article introduces the concept of "drivers". Think of warning signs and risk factors as a map; drivers are the specific route your patient is travelling.

The article can be found on Wiley Online Library (note: there is a pay wall). © 2015 The American Association of Suicidology.

Categories: Suicide Prevention; Clinical

RM MIRECC Researchers Awarded SPiRE Grants

18 January 2016

RM MIRECC researchers Lisa Brenner and Sean Barnes received separate SpiRE grants for important research projects. SPiRE grants are given by the VA Office of Research & Development for Small Projects in REhabilitation Research:

Lisa A. Brenner, Ph.D., Principal Investigator; Director, Rocky Mountain MIRECC for Suicide Prevention
Biological Signature and Safety of an Immunomodulatory Probiotic Intervention for Veterans with Co-Occurring Mild TBI and PTSD
This study begins a new exploration in the area of the human microbiome; the microorganisms in our gut. There is growing evidence linking inflammation and mental health. This study explores the role of our microbiome, inflammation and ties to mild TBI (mTBI) and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
See below for more on the human microbiome
Sean Barnes, Ph.D., Principal Investigator; Clinical Research Psychologist, Rocky Mountain MIRECC
ACT for Life: a Brief Intervention for Maximizing Recovery After Suicidal Crises
A psychiatric hospitalization provides an opportunity to provide treatment and promote recovery. This study will look at the application of “ACT (Acceptance and Commitment Therapy) for Life” in an inpatient setting. ACT for Life is a brief, recovery-oriented intervention for Veterans hospitalized due to suicide risk. The study will provide critical information to inform final revisions to the treatment manual and research design for a future efficacy study of ACT for Life.

Categories: Suicide Prevention; Research

Microbiome of the Built Environment (MoBE): Suppress Inflammation to Promote Mental Health

18 January 2016

With the growth of the human microbiome perspective and the microbiome-gut-brain axis, there is an increasing appreciation regarding the association between inflammation and mental health. The microorganisms living within the built environment (MoBE) interact with the human microbiome, and may play an important role in modulating inflammation-induced psychiatric conditions and their symptoms. Research to identify environmental microorganisms that are either beneficial or harmful to mental health may lead to promising prevention and intervention treatments. This paper reviews the potential benefit of MoBe in studies of mental health.

“It is possible that intentional modification of the built environment to increase microbial biodiversity, or to increase exposure to immunoregulatory antigens or probiotics, would result in improved mental health conditions.”

Learn more:

Spanish Language Video for Talking to Children About a Suicide Attempt Released

18 January 2016

The How to Talk to a Child about a Suicide Attempt in Your Family are now available as videos translated into Spanish. The video takes many of the important points from the written guides and using professional actors shows parents and caregivers how they can be used.

Si ha habido un intento de suicidio reciente en su familia, esto puede ser una de las experiencias más difíciles que usted y sus hijos pueden enfrentar jamás. Es importante cuidar de sí mismo, por lo que son más capaces de cuidar a su hijo.

Esta guía está pensada para ofrecerle un poco de ese apoyo, y también compartir otros recursos que pueden ser útiles para usted ahora, y como su familia se recupere. La guía no pretende sustituir el consejo profesional de salud mental. De hecho, puede ser mejor usar esto junto con el apoyo profesional si usted o su hijo tiene dificultades con la forma de hablar de este tema difícil.

Watch the video/Mirar el video

Categories: Veterans; Families; 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.