Rocky Mountain MIRECC for VA Suicide Prevention
Updated: 22 March 2017
A podcast is a digital audio file that can be played on a smartphone, computer or portable media player. It is like having a talkshow that you can subscribe to and take or listen to anywhere.
Rocky Mountain MIRECC for Suicide Prevention has started a serial podcast called Short Takes on Suicide Prevention. We interview leaders in the field of suicide prevention in an attempt to make their research accessible to everyone. You can subscribe to our podcast by going to iTunes on your iPhone or on your Android device. You can also find all our episodes at our host site.
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.
- Learn more about Dr. Suzanne McGarity
- Community Reintegration Problems Among Veterans and Active Duty Service Members With Traumatic Brain Injury - doi: 10.1097/HTR.0000000000000242
- Follow Dr. McGarity on Twitter @BrainDocMcG
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.
- Thank you to Scott and Chris for your time, and work within the CIRU, and sharing the following documents with us.
- Denver’s Crisis Intervention & Crisis Response Unit (CIRU) Fact Sheet
- CIRU Law Enforcement Mental Health Collaboration document
- PROGRAM PROFILE: Mental Health Center of Denver’s Co-Responder Program
- A snapshot of what the co-responder program accomplished from April 2016 to the end of 2016 - an infographic
- Denver’s CIRU has received media coverage both nationally and locally, including the
Dr. Carl Castro 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.
- Learn more about Colonel Carl A. Castro PhD
- Suicides in the military: the post-modern combat veteran and the Hemingway effect
- Colonel Castro Addresses The House Committee on Veterans' Affairs
- VA Joins Research Consortium
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.
- Learn more about the South Central MIRECC
- Download the manual Collaborative Safety Planning for Older Adults
- Learn more about Dr. Asghar-Ali the Associate Director for Education at the Rural MIRECC, and an Associate Professor of Psychiatry Research with a focus on Geriatric Psychiatry at the Baylor College of Medicine
- Safety planning intervention: A brief intervention to mitigate 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.
- Learn more about Craig Bryan
- Learn more about the National Center for Veterans Studies
- Follow @CraigJBryan on Twitter (we do!)
- What Distinguishes Suicide Attempters From Suicide Ideators? A Meta-Analysis of Potential Factors
- The Importance of Temporal Dynamics in the Transition From Suicidal Thought to Behavior
- Theory-driven models of self-directed violence among individuals with PTSD
Categories: Suicide Prevention
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. The podcast is approximately 25 minutes long.
- Access the article “Exploring the association between exposure to suicide and suicide risk among military service members and veterans” in the Journal of Affective Disorders.
Resources for loved ones bereaved by suicide:
- American Association of Suicidology has compiled a list of resources for suicide loss survivors.
- Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors (TAPS) hosts camps, retreats, care groups and many other services for military members who have lost a loved one.
- Part of the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention’s mission is to bring “hope to those affected by suicide,” including access to nationwide support groups.
- Servicemen, Veterans, families and loved ones receive free, professional mental health services via Give an Hour.
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. The podcast is approximately 13 minutes long.
- Learn more about Dr. Scholten’s work as the Associate Chief of Staff for Rehabilitation Services for the VAMC in Washington, D.C.
- See his work featured brainlinemilitary
- Information on VAs Polytrauma System of care
- Details about each of the four care components and an interactive map with Polytrauma/TBI System of care.
- Read about Concussion Coach, an app developed by VA/PSC to help manage TBI symptoms.
- Several of Dr. Scholten’s recent publications include:
- Scholten et al 2016 Templated Interdisciplinary Rehabilitation Care Plan Documentation for Veterans with Traumatic Brain Injury PMID: 27749702
- Martinez et al. 2016 Evaluation and treatment of mild traumatic brain injury through the implementation of clinical video telehealth: provider perspectives from the Veterans Health Administration PMID: 27423365
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. The podcast is approximately 25 minutes long.
- Learn more about Dr. Nazem and her work
- The Sleep Healthy Using the Internet Webpage describes SHUT-I and provides information on the research behind the application.
- Learn and download the T2 Health mobile phone app CBT-i Coach
- Watch the HSR&D cyber seminar “The Relationship of Sleep Disturbance to Suicidal Thoughts and Behaviors: An Opportunity for Intervention” by Wilfred Pigeon, PhD, for more information on insomnia, depressive symptomology, and suicide risk.
30 November 2016 - Richard Egan shares his professional journey, which spans 26 years’ service with the Air Force (starting with munitions, “bombs and bullets”) to Suicide Prevention Training and Outreach Facilitator, Nevada Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Suicide Prevention. Nevada represents the only State to reduce (by a small amount) suicide rates from 1999 – 2014, while the rest of the nation increased upwards of 24%. How did they achieve this result? Mr. Egan describes a comprehensive life cycle approach, starting with social-emotional learning in elementary school, to supporting older residents, many of whom have left family/friends behind in other states. This podcast also highlights Nevada’s access to lethal means’ programs, proactively reaching and training community members that may come in contact with at-risk individuals. The podcast is approximately 40 minutes long.
- The Las Vegas Review-Journal describes Rick Egan’s lifelong dedication to service and suicide prevention
- Learn more about the Nevada Division of Public and Behavioral Health Office of Suicide Prevention
- Learn more about Nevada's Committee to Review Suicide Fatalities, which gathers data from multiple sources across the state and makes recommendations guiding future suicide prevention efforts
- The Nevada Suicide Prevention Coalition organizes training and events, including:
- Be Aware Info Sheet
- Suicide Proofing Your Home pamphlet
- Tips for gun dealers info sheet
- Tips for gun ranges info sheet
2 November 2016 - Adam spoke with Dr. John Blosnich a research health scientist with the Center for Health Equity Research and Promotion at the VA Pittsburgh Healthcare System and an adjunct assistant professor in the Department of Behavioral and Community Health Sciences at the University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public Health. John discusses his work with Veterans from the Transgender community. The work being done within the VA may surprise some and should cause us all a beacon of hope. The podcast is approximately 20 minutes long.
- Learn more about John R. Blosnich, PhD, MPH
- Learn more about the Center for Health Equity Research and Promotion
- VA Patient Care Services: Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) Veteran Care
- Mortality Among Veterans with Transgender-Related Diagnoses in the Veterans Health Administration, FY2000–2009
- Suicidality and sexual orientation: Characteristics of symptom severity, disclosure, and timing across the life course
- Presentation video: Association of social determinants of health with medical conditions among transgender Veterans: Evidence from electronic health records
19 October 2016 - Adam talks this week with Dr. Julie Kinn from The National Center for Telehealth & Technology (T2), a Department of Defense organization that evaluates new technologies for tele-mental health. T2 has put out lots of mobile apps focusing on the mental needs of Veterans, caregivers, service members and clinicians. The apps have been remarkably popular and useful. Adam explores the process of creating evidence-based apps that are fun, easy to use and beneficial. The podcast is approximately 30 minutes long.
5 October 2016 - Adam interviews a new addition to the Rocky Mountain MIRECC for Suicide Prevention team, Dr. Meredith Mealer. Meredith as done important work studying the high prevalence of PTSD in ICU nurses. Her work has found that ICU nurses suffer from PTSD at a rate comparable to soldiers returning from Iraq and Afghanistan. Dr. Mealer's research has also provided steps that nurses and ALL helping professionals can take that have proven to bolster resilience. The work is important for all in the helping field. The podcast is approximately 21 minutes long.
- Dr. Meredith Mealer
- Watch Meredith's Denver Channel 4 News video: CU researchers take aim at PTSD, burnout in the ICU
- Podcast transcript
- Feasibility and acceptability of a resilience training program for intensive care unit nurses
- A qualitative study of resilience and posttraumatic stress disorder in United States ICU nurses
- The prevalence and impact of post traumatic stress disorder and burnout syndrome in nurses
- The presence of resilience is associated with a healthier psychological profile in intensive care unit (ICU) nurses: results of a national survey
21 September 2016 - In this week's episode Adam discusses moral injury with Georgia Gerard, LSW, a social worker at Rocky Mountain MIRECC for Suicide Prevention. Moral injury is distinct but can also overlap with PTSD. It is important to tease out the differences and then help the individual back to a a place of acceptance. The podcast is approximately 18 minutes long.
- Moral Injury in the Context of War
- Moral injury and moral repair in war veterans: A preliminary model and intervention strategy
- Killing in combat may be independently associated with suicidal ideation
- Moral injury, suicidal ideation, and suicide attempts in a military sample
- The Moral Injury Questionnaire
7 September 2016 - For this episode we took our podcast equipment to the Denver VA's 4th annual Mental Health Summit where Dr. Kate Comtois was giving the keynote address. Kate was there to tell us about promising directions in treating the patient with suicidal thoughts and behaviors. We’ll have Kate on Rocky Mountain Short Takes again in the coming months but today we wanted to focus on what she had to say about Caring Communications. This simple yet effective tool was first introduced in the 1990’s but the research was not published until 2001. Since then research in Australia, Iran and the U.S. has shown consistent positive results. Listen to the podcast and then think about how you can add this simple technique to your own practice. The podcast is approximately 27 minutes long.
- Learn more about Katherine Anne Comtois Ph.D., M.P.H..
- This short article from Stanford SPARQ, the Center for Social Psychological Answers to Real-World Questions: Caring Letters Prevent Suicide
- This article is behind a pay-wall but the abstract is worth reading and it highlights the work of Dr. David Luxton: Can Postdischarge Follow-Up Contacts Prevent Suicide and Suicidal Behavior? A Review of the Evidence
24 August 2016 - Dr. Nazanin Bahraini, Director of Education for the Rocky Mountain MIRECC for Suicide Prevention discusses VA Suicide Prevention research and how we make that research accessible for clinicians and Veterans. Nasi talks about the movement in VA Suicide Prevention research from her days as a psychology fellow where the research focused on down-river approaches to today where there the approaches run a wider range from community to environmental. She touches on the future, VA Suicide Prevention month and the 22 Pushup Challenge (have you done the challenge yet!). The podcast is approximately 25 minutes long.
11 August 2016 - This week Adam interviews Lieutenant Colonel Andrew Hoisington, Ph.D., P.E., M.SAME, USAF, an Assistant Professor, and Environmental Engineering Division Chief, Department of Civil & Environmental Engineering, U.S. Air Force Academy. He is also one of the principle investigators with the Military and Veteran Microbiome: Consortium for Research and Education (MVM-CoRE). Dr. Hoisington is the author on numerous publications in the fields of the microbiota, immunoregulation, and mental health, including lead author on a publication in the journal Microbiome, and author on a recent publication in Current Environmental Health Reports. The podcast is approximately 25 minutes long.
- Learn more about the MVM-CoRE
- Microbes Among Us
- The microbiome of the built environment and mental health
27 July 2016 - Adam Hoffberg interviews Dr. Sean Barnes about his paper “Moving Beyond Self-Report: Implicit Associations about Death/Life Prospectively Predict Suicidal Behavior among Veterans”. The paper explores suicide risk assessment, the limitations of self-report, and why advancing our understanding of objective ways to measure suicide risk is so important. Specifically it examines the predictive validity of the death/suicide Implicit Association Test (d/sIAT) as an objective measure of future risk. The podcast is approximately 20 minutes long.
13 July 2016 - Joe Huggins interviews Dr. Lisa Betthauser about the concept of combat rush. Combat rush was first coined by Dr. Jim Grigsby from his work in the early 1990s with Viet Nam Veterans. Dr. Betthauser explores the role of risky behaviors in returning Veterans, the role of safety planning and possible positive psychological outlets. The podcast is approximately 22 minutes long.
- Learn more about Dr. Lisa Betthauser
- Download the five question Adventurous Activities Interview used in Dr. Betthauser's research
29 June 2016 - Adam interviews Dr. Bridget Matarazzo about using measures to test Dr. Joiner's Interpersonal Theory of Suicide. This episode is of particular interest for any clinician who works with Veterans. Dr. Matarazzo explores to recognize perceived burdensomeness and thwarted belongingness in the presence of acquired capability through psychometric tools. And how these tools have been validated for a Veteran population. The podcast is approximately 16 minutes long.
- The article "Evaluating the Psychometric Properties of the Interpersonal Needs Questionnaire and the Acquired Capability for Suicide Scale in Military Veterans" is not available online, but read the abstract on PubMed.
- Learn more about Dr. Bridget Matarazzo
- Learn more about the VA Suicide Risk Management Consultation Service.
15 June 2016 - Adam Hoffberg talks with Dr. Marian (Emmy) Betz about how to talk with patients about firearm safety in relation to suicide risk. Dr. Betz is an emergency room physician at the University of Colorado Hospital and has worked extensively in the area of lethal means safety for suicide prevention. Her most recent article published June 2016 is titled "Lethal Means Access and Assessment Among Suicidal Emergency Department Patients."
An interesting part of this far ranging discussion occurs near the end when Dr. Betz discusses a program in Colorado, the Colorado Gun Shop Project. The program is modeled on the New Hampshire Firearm Safety Coalition. The purpose of the project is to collaborate with gun shop retailers, gun range owners, and firearm safety course instructors to promote suicide prevention awareness, recognize suicidal behavior, and limit the sale of firearms to any customer who is suicidal. See the links below to learn more. The podcast is approximately 26 minutes long.
- Read the article “Lethal Means Access and Assessment Among Suicidal Emergency Department Patients.”
- Learn more about Marian (Emmy) Betz, MD, MPH
- Listen to "State, Doctors Get Welcome Allies In Suicide Prevention Fight: Gun Shops" from Colorado Public Radio
- Read about the New Hampshire Firearm Safety Coalition
- Read the Fort Collins Coloradoan article "Gun store owners unite to curb suicide deaths"
- The Colorado Firearm Safety Coalition webpage is now live
- Download he podcast transcript
1 June 2016 - In this episode Adam interviews Perry Renshaw, MD PhD MBA, the Medical Director of Rocky Mountain MIRECC who is based in our Salt Lake City, UT office. Dr. Renshaw is the senior author on “Acute Air Pollution Exposure and Risk of Suicide Completion”, one of the American Journal of Epidemiology (AJE) and the Society for Epidemiologic Research’s 2015 Articles of the Year. Listen as they explore what role the environment plays in suicide and the clinical implications. The podcast is approximately 18 minutes long.
- Read the article “Acute Air Pollution Exposure and Risk of Suicide Completion.”
- Learn more about Perry Renshaw, MD PhD MBA
16 May 2016 - In this podcast Adam Hoffberg (and @adamhoffberg) interviews Dr. Christopher A Lowry (and @CALowryPhD) about his work studying the relationship between stress resilience and the microbiome. Dr. Lowry is with the University of Colorado Boulder, Department of Integrative Physiology, and the Center for Neuroscience, as well as co-Director for the Military and Veteran Microbiome: Consortium for Research and Education (and @MVM_CoRE). Dr. Lowry is the senior author on a publication in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Science . The article is titled “Immunization with a heat-killed preparation of the environmental bacterium Mycobacterium vaccae promotes stress resilience in mice.” Listen how the this article with it's complex title is turned into something understandable. The podcast is approximately 22 minutes long.
- Read the article “Immunization with a heat-killed preparation of the environmental bacterium Mycobacterium vaccae promotes stress resilience in mice.”
- Neuroscience at the University of Colorado Boulder
- Dr. Lowry's Lab
- Military and Veteran Microbiome: Consortium for Research and Education (MVM CoRE)
- Behavioral Neuroendocrinology Laboratory
18 April 2016 - Welcome to our fifth RM Short Takes podcast. This week Adam Hoffberg interviews Dr. Noelle Smith. Dr. Smith is a clinical psychologist at the Tampa VA and affiliated with the VA National Center for Posttraumatic Stress Disorder. She specializes in working with Veterans with PTSD and is the lead author on a recent publication in the Journal of Affective Disorders. The article will appear in the June 2016 print edition and is titled “Nature and determinants of suicidal ideation among U.S. Veterans: Results from the national health and resilience in Veterans study.” Listen to Dr. Smith discuss the article and it's importance to the field of suicide prevention. The podcast is approximately 20 minutes long.
30 March 2016 - Welcome to our fourth RM Short Takes podcast. This week Adam Hoffberg interviews Dr. Ellyn Matthews on her article "A Qualitative Study of Sleep-Wake Disturbance Among Veterans With Post-Acute Moderate to Severe Traumatic Brain Injury." Ellyn is now invested in Elizabeth Stanley Cooper Endowed Chair in Oncology Nursing at the University of Arkansas after a great stint with Rocky Mountain MIRECC. In this podcast she discusses the effect sleep-wake disturbance can have on Veterans with moderate to severe TBI. The podcast is approximately 20 minutes long.
16 March 2016 - Welcome to our third RM Short Takes podcast. This week Adam Hoffberg interviews Dr. Peter Gutierrez about an editorial by Dr Declan Murray in the British Journal of Psychiatry Open (DOI: 10.1192/bjpo.bp.115.002071) in which Dr Murray discusses abandoning suicide risk assessment. As you might expect, the answer is not a simple yes or no. The podcast is approximately 14 minutes long.
22 February 2016 - Join us for our second episode of RMIRECC Short Takes when we interview Dr. Lindsey Monteith about her two recent articles exploring military sexual trauma "Sexual Trauma and Combat During Deployment: Associations With Suicidal Ideation Among OEF/OIF/OND Veterans" and "A Closer Examination of Sexual Trauma During Deployment: Not all Sexual Traumas are Associated with Suicidal Ideation". The podcast is approximately 20 minutes long. Podcast transcript
10 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.
Six Training Videos: Suicide Assessment, Treatment and Management
30 March 2016
- Neuropsychological Functioning in Posttraumatic Stress Disorder
- Kristi Samuelson, PhD, Assistant Professor, University of Colorado at Colorado Springs
- 12 January 2016
— Neuropsychological functioning in PTSD and alcohol abuse: Teasing out the effects of comorbid conditions
— Longitudinal changes in brain anatomy and neuropsychological functioning in PTSD: Is PTSD a risk factor for cognitive aging?
— Neuropsychological functioning and inflammation in current, remitted, and past PTSD
— Future research goals
- Download presentation