Suicide Prevention Research | VISN 2 CoE - MIRECC / CoE
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Suicide Prevention Research | VISN 2 CoE

Research at the Veterans Affairs' Northwest Mental Illness Research, Education and Clinical CenterResearch at the Center of Excellence for Suicide Prevention

The VISN 2 CoE houses a robust, multifaceted research program that seeks to advance innovative approaches to preventing Veteran suicide. Consistent with our Center's framework, research domains are designed to inform the development and use of evidence-based prevention strategies across broad categories of risk (universal, selective, indicated) that are coordinated to reflect our mission and goals.

That is, CoE research examines upstream outcomes to alter life trajectories prior to the development of suicidal behaviors, while also intervening to address risk factors for vulnerable Veterans within the health system.

 Meet our investigators to learn more about currently funded research projects.

Linking Research to Practice : News from Our Investigators

VA study uncovers critical link between pain intensity and suicide attempts
CoE study conducted by researchers Lisham Ashrafioun, Ph.D., Todd Bishop, Ph.D., Peter Britton, Ph.D., Wilfred Pigeon, Ph.D. and statistician Cathleen Kane, was featured in VAntage Point. Using VHA data, the study looked at Veterans' average pain intensity scores in the year after they began receiving pain specialty services to determine whether pain intensity was associated with sucide attempts.

Medications and Suicide: High Dimensional Empirical Bayes Screening (iDEAS)

A review of 922 prescription medications taken by almost 150 million people over an 11-year period shows that just 10 of these drugs were associated with an increased rate of suicide attempts. 44 drugs were linked to a decrease in suicide attempts, including many that carry a "black box" label from the Food and Drug Administration warning of their association with suicidal behavior. This study using a statistical tool to measure the links between drugs and suicide attempts was published in the Harvard Data Science Review and conducted by several researchers including CoE's Jill Lavigne, Ph.D.

Perceptions of public messagin to facilitate help seeking during crisis among U.S. Veterans at risk for suicide
A recently completed study by CoE Co-Research Director Elizabeth Karras, Ph.D., focused on the use of suicide prevention messaging with Veterans at high risk for suicide. 40 VHA Veterans with a recent non-fatal suicide attempt were exposed to three PSAs in current circulation focused on promoting crisis line use during periods of high distress. The primary findings from this qualitative study and actionable research to practice methods can be found here.

Does marijuana use increase the risk of suicide?
A recently published article in Depression & Anxiety submitted by CoE researchers Lee Ashrafioun Ph.D., Tracy Stecker Ph.D. and colleauges, examines the unique and interactive effects of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) symptoms and days using alcohol, opioids and marijuana on PTSD symptoms, suicidal ideation and suicidal behavior up to one year later in a high-risk sample of military personnel not active in mental health treatment. Learn more about their findings.