MIRECC / CoE
Rocky Mountain MIRECC for Veteran Suicide Prevention
Suicide is complex but it is also preventable. Beyond treating Veterans in crisis there are so many ways to tackle this. When you look at the topics we investigate, from gut bacteria to community gatherings, you see the possibilities.
- Webinar: Food Insecurity and Mental Health: Contextualizing Nutrition in Psychosocial Functioning
- 13 December 2018 - Dr. Diana Brostow, PhD, MPH, RDN recently gave an VA HSR&D webinar that explored how consistent, affordable access to nutritious food (food security) is increasingly viewed as an important determinant of health. Emerging research suggests that rather than being solely an issue of hunger and physical food access, food insecurity may be viewed as a complex, multifactorial concept comprised of the psychological, social, cultural, as well as environmental factors that shape eating behaviors. Also, an article appeared in the Dayton Daily News (12 December 2018) detailing how food insecurity affects Veterans locally. Dr. Brostow is quoted, "Veterans are proud, and they have a reason to be proud. Food insecurity has a lot of stigma associated with it. It’s hard for people to ask for help. Food is such a basic, primal need. For a person to say, ‘Hey, I’m having trouble feeding myself,’ takes a lot of courage." Read how the Dayton VA is addressing the issue.
- A Chat with Our Experts: Seeking new ways to alert physicians to Veteran suicide risk
- 12 December 2018 - The VA Research Quarterly features an interview Dr. Hal Wortzel. Hal is the Director of Neuropsychiatric consultation services and co-director of the VA Suicide Risk Management Consultation Program. He is also an associate professor of psychiatry, neurology, and physical medicine and rehabilitation at the University of Colorado. The article explores his research in suicide prevention and also his thoughts on the emerging idea of using a suicide-specific diagnosis code in Veterans' medical records. Read the full article.
- Podcast: On Moral Injury - A Treatment Perspective with Dr. Chris Corona
- 12 December 2018 - In this podcast Georgia interviews Dr. Chris Corona, post-doctoral fellow at the VISN 2 Center of Excellence for Suicide Prevention at the Canandaigua VA Medical Center, to continue the discussion on moral injury. Moral injury is a relatively new concept and our understanding of how it relates to suicide risk is limited. Dr. Corona provides a thorough overview of moral injury and ways providers can assess and treat moral injury as well as sharing findings from current research on moral injury and suicide risk in a population of Veterans with substance use disorders and ideas for future research.
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- Pub: Trajectory of Postconcussive Symptoms 12-Months Post-Deployment in Soldiers with and without Mild Traumatic Brain Injury - Warrior STRONG Study
- 6 December 2018 - RMIRECC Director Dr. Lisa Brenner worked on this Warrior STRONG study that found, "The prevalence of clinically relevant postconcussive symptoms remained relatively constant over one year of follow-up, whether or not symptoms were associated with concussion. Service members with recent mTBI reported more symptoms than non-mTBI at all time-points." Read more.
- Pub: Developing Predictive Models to Enhance Clinician Prediction of Suicide Attempts Among Veterans With and Without PTSD
- 4 December 2018 - RMIRECC Drs. Sean Barnes, Lindsey Monteith, Jeri Forster, Sarra Nazem, Lauren Borges, and Nasi Bahraini and Kelly Stearns-Yoder collaborated on this article. From the abstract, "OBJECTIVE: The authors aimed to build and test a predictive model of Suicide Attampts (SA) that included established risk factors and measures of suicide risk, and Death Implicit Association Test (IAT) scores. The authors also sought to test the predictive validity of the SA model among subgroups of Veterans with and without PTSD. CONCLUSIONS: Findings indicate that predictive models may bolster clinician prediction of SAs and that predictors may differ for Veterans with PTSD." Read more.
- Pub: Exploring service dogs for rehabilitation of veterans with PTSD: A microbiome perspective
- 4 December 2018 - RMIRECC and MVMCore Drs. Lt. Col. Andrew Hoisington, Katherine Bates, Chris Stamper, Christopher Lowry and Lisa Brenner, also Kelly Stearns-Yoder participated on this paper. From the abstract, "RESULTS: Whether dogs can be used as an intervention to increase function among those with PTSD remains a question. Nonetheless, it has been suggested that dog ownership may improve mental health outcomes via multiple mechanisms, such as decreasing social isolation and increasing physical activity and exposure to green spaces. The presence of a dog in the home may alter the human inhabitants' microbiomes, thereby, potentially providing an additional mechanism through which service dogs may influence human health and well-being. CONCLUSIONS/IMPLICATIONS: Theoretically, the use of service dogs for rehabilitation of Veterans with PTSD could improve mental health outcomes. To the best of our knowledge the impact that therapy dogs have on the microbiome of the owners, as well as their built environments, has yet to be explored." Read more
- Pub: An initial investigation of nonsuicidal self-injury among male and female survivors of military sexual trauma
- 20 November 2018 - RMIRECC Drs. Ryan Holliday and Lindsey Monteith teamed up with Dr. Noelle Smith of the VA's Northeast Program Evaluation Center on this article. From the abstract, "The aims of the current study were to: (1) describe characteristics of NSSI among survivors of MST and (2) determine if MST survivors who have engaged in NSSI differ from those who have never engaged in NSSI in terms of the severity of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and depressive symptoms, trauma-related cognitions, and recent suicidal ideation. MST survivors with a history of NSSI reported more severe PTSD symptoms, recent suicidal ideation, and trauma-related cognitions. NSSI was relatively common in the sample and was associated with a more severe clinical presentation. Longitudinal research is needed to understand the development, maintenance, and function of NSSI in MST survivors, especially as it pertains to risk for suicidal self-directed violence." Read more
- Pub: Increased efficiency of brain connectivity networks in veterans with suicide attempts
- 13 November 2018 - Our RMIRECC site in Salt Lake City lead this research with researchers Margaret Legarreta, Elliott Bueler, Erin McGlade and Deborah Yurgelun-Todd. From the abstract, "Prior research has shown neurobiological factors in suicide. However, studies of neuroimaging correlates of suicide risk have been limited. This study applied complex weighted network analyses to characterize the neural connectivity in white matter in veterans with suicide behavior. CONCLUSION: Veterans with prior suicide attempt had altered connectivity networks characteristics in the white matter. These findings may be distinctive neurobiological markers for individuals with suicide attempt. Strong connectivity in the left PCC may be implicated in impulsivity in veterans with suicide attempt." Read the full article.
- HSR&D Thanks Veterans for their Participation in Research
- Veterans Day 2018 - In honor of Veterans Day, VA's Health Services Research & Development Service (HSR&D) would like to share this short video thanking Veterans for their service and participation in HSR&D research. Eight HSR&D investigators are featured expressing their gratitude for Veterans' role in research, and several also share the personal and professional value they gain from working with, and on behalf of, our nation's Veterans. Thank you to all who have served.RMIRECC joins in thanking all Veterans. Watch the video.
- Podcast: On Empathy and Caring with Lena Heilmann
- 7 November 2018 - Lena Heilmann lost her sister Danielle to suicide in 2012. In response to this traumatic loss and as a way to honor her sister, Lena transitioned from her role as a college professor to working in suicide prevention. Now, as the Youth Suicide Prevention Coordinator with the Colorado Office of Suicide Prevention, Lena merges her lived experience with coordinating a SAMHSA Youth Suicide Prevention Grant. In this podcast, Lena talks about how her grief and loss survivor identity inform her work and her personal mission. Adam and Lena's conversation also addresses the role of upstream prevention efforts, an overview of suicide prevention work in Colorado, the importance of authentic interpersonal relationships, and how to prioritize self-care when working in the suicide prevention field.
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Rocky Mountain Regional VAMC (RMR VAMC)
1700 N Wheeling St, G-3-116M
Aurora, CO 80045
Salt Lake City
VA Salt Lake City Health Care System
500 Foothill DR
Salt Lake City, UT 84148