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Newsletter | Fall 2023 Article 7 | South Central MIRECC

Publication Highlights

Articles and books authored by our affiliates enable us to share research and knowledge about mental health treatment with our Veteran, caregiver, provider and research communities.

Highlighted Articles

Drs. Claire Houtsma (first author), Amanda Raines and Gala True published an article on engaging stakeholders to develop a suicide prevention learning module for Louisiana firearm training courses in Injury Epidemiology. The researchers recruited firearm owners and instructors from the Veteran-Informed Safety Intervention and Outreach Network (VISION) project and a publicly available database of firearm instructors. The owners and instructors were asked to participate in focus groups to provide feedback on an existing suicide prevention learning module (developed in Utah) used by firearm instructors. Participants agreed on several key themes, including the importance of messenger relatability and aligning the lethal means safety message with firearm owner values. Their feedback suggested these themes were adequately addressed in the adapted learning module and contributed to overall module acceptability. The final theme, present across the original and adapted learning modules (i.e., Utah and Louisiana), was openness to further information and training on firearm suicide prevention.

Drs. Jeffrey Cully (first author), Ellen Fischer, and Shubhada Sansgiry published an article on provider perceptions and use of mental health services in the Veterans Health Administration during the COVID-19 pandemic in Psychological Services. The authors analyzed data from 1,175 mental health providers and VHA administrative data on mental health service delivery. Providers reported that access, quality, and timeliness of services remained high during the pandemic; indicated increased use of telehealth services; and reported challenges in delivering evidence-based psychotherapies (EBPs) and measurement-based care (MBC). Administrative data indicated no drop in the number of Veterans receiving mental health care during the pandemic but showed fewer total visits relative to prepandemic levels. It also confirmed a dramatic increase in telehealth services during the first 6 months of the pandemic (+ 459% telephone and + 202% video) and a decrease in use of EBPs (-28%) and MBC (-31%). Data at 12 months showed a continued increase in video services (+ 357%) and modest improvement in EBP and MBC use.

Drs. Darius Dawson (first author), Mark Kunik, and Terri Fletcher published an article on their systematic review of the efficacy of tobacco cessation treatment for African American adults in Translational Behavioral Medicine. African American adults are more likely to develop disease when using tobacco products than other adults. Previous reviews of literature assessing tobacco cessation treatment have been conducted on research until 2007. Therefore, the researchers assessed how well tobacco cessation treatments that were tested 2007–2021 work to decrease tobacco use for this population. They found that 10 studies tested tobacco cessation treatment with majority African American participants, in comparison to more standard treatment. Overall, tobacco cessation treatment that combines behavioral and pharmacological approaches decreases tobacco use for African American adults. However, quit rates among African American adults are lower than those found in the general population. Their findings indicate that very few studies have focused on African American adult tobacco cessation treatment outcomes, which has potentially contributed to health inequity.

Last updated: October 23, 2023