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Rocky Mountain MIRECC for VA Suicide Prevention


Updated: 22 February 2017

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

Newly 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

Military Times: VA is studying gut bacteria in PTSD, TBI patients - Join the Probiotics Study

After work first done by MVM's own Christopher Lowry there is a new study being launched at the VA lead by Lisa Brenner and Christopher Lowry exploring whether an over-the-counter probiotic can lead to positive results for PTSD and TBI.

Learn more about joining the Probiotics study

Read the article

Listen to Chris' podcast on this topic

Rocky Mountain Short Takes on Suicide Prevention: Craig Bryan on Fluid Vulnerability Theory - a way to Understand Acute and Chronic Suicide Risk

25 January 2017

This week Adam discusses Fluid Vulnerability Theory with Craig Bryan, PsyD, with the National Center for Veterans Studies at the University of Utah. Dr. Bryan ducked into an empty room at the hospital where he was delivering a talk to chat with Adam. Craig served four years in the Air Force and deployed to Iraq in 2009 as Director of the Traumatic Brain Injury Clinic at the Air Force Theater Hospital in Balad, Iraq. Later he worked with Dr. David Rudd as Dr. Rudd developed Fluid Vulnerability Theory (FVT). FVT states that “suicide risk is an inherently dynamically changing construct...that risk will fluctuate over time.” And it is through understanding the processes that underlie the “ideation to acting framework” where work and change come about. Listening to these two really get in the weeds about FVT is like having a full conference presentation delivered right to you. It is fascinating.

The podcast is approximately 40 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.

RM MIRECC MVM CoRE Researcher Makes Top 10 List!

19 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


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.