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VA Suicide Risk Management Consultation Program

VA Suicide Risk Management Consultation Program

 

Overview

How It Works

FAQ

Client Feedback

Program Staff

Never Worry Alone

Updated: 24 January 2018

Providing care for Veterans at risk of suicide may feel like a daunting responsibility. Why worry alone?

The Rocky Mountain MIRECC offers free consultation for any provider (community as well as VA) who works with Veterans.

Tools + Support + Evidence-based Knowledge = Better Outcomes

srmconsult@va.gov

Promote the Suicide Risk Management Counsultation Program

Help us promote the Suicide Risk Management Counsultation Program. Download our promotion toolkit and let your friends and colleagues know!

Provider-Focused Support

Working with high risk individuals is stressful. This reality may cause emotional and cognitive strain, which could influence:

  • The therapeutic relationship
  • Provider’s problem solving/decision-making
  • Documentation

When working with those at risk for suicide, the therapeutic alliance is particularly critical. During the consultation process, we aim to help providers maintain supportive, collaborative and productive therapeutic relationships. Consultants provide concrete tools as well as encouragement that help ease anxiety and increase provider confidence.

Armed with a better way to assess, conceptualize and mitigate risk, providers often experience less stress. This helps optimize clinical decision making and problem solving, while maintaining the therapeutic alliance.

As a provider you may have unanswered questions about suicide risk management, or feel that a “second opinion” might prove useful. Please contact us and #NeverWorryAlone.

Mission: Provide consultation to all providers who serving Veterans, to enhance knowledge and confidence, and provide emotional support with the aim of optimizing care for all suicidal Veterans.

How It Works

To get started, please send us an email at srmconsult@va.gov. Administrative staff will set you up with the consultant who can best answer your question. Consultation can take place by phone or email, at your convenience. In some cases, we might send you a form to gather additional information about your question.

If we consult with you over the phone, you will provide information about the clinical circumstances prompting consultation and let us know what we can be most helpful with. We will collaboratively conceptualize the issues and offer recommendations/answers. Any question related suicide prevention and Veterans is fair game.

Common consultation topics include:

  • Risk Assessment
  • Conceptualization of Suicide Risk
  • Lethal Means Safety Counseling
  • Strategies for how to Engage Veterans at High Risk
  • Best Practices for Documentation
  • Provider Support after a Suicide Loss (Postvention)

Who can request a consult? Any VA or community provider who works with Veterans with suicidal thoughts and/or behaviors.

  • Mental health professionals
  • Primary care clinicians
  • Care Coordinators
  • Other providers caring for Veterans

"The entire consultation was helpful. They gave me feedback/ideas on therapy, documentation, and self-care. They were supportive and encouraging. It was also so helpful they sent articles for me to read. I left the consultation feeling much better about the work I am doing, how to document and how to maintain self-care. I would highly recommend this service."

Our Guiding Model

The Suicide Risk Consultation Program is rooted within the framework of the Therapeutic Risk Management of the Suicidal Patient Model. With this as a guide, provider/consultant will work together to:

  • Conduct and document clinical risk assessment
  • Augment clinical risk assessment with structured instruments
  • Stratify Risk in terms of both severity and temporality
  • Develop and document a Safety Plan

The TRM model seeks to balance sometimes competing ethical concerns, allay an overly defensive mindset, and create a healthy space to provide the best overall patient care.

Please visit our Therapeutic Risk Management page for more information and other tools.

Notice for Non-VA Providers

The VA Suicide Risk Management Consultation Program for Community Providers offers education, training, information, and consultation regarding suicide risk assessment and management to non-VA healthcare professionals who care for Veterans outside of the VA sys-tem. These services are provided consistent with evidence-based/informed practices for suicide risk management and VA consensus statements such as the VA/DoD Clinical Practice Guideline for Assessment and Management of Patients at Risk for Suicide. Our goal is to enhance the care available to all Veterans at risk for suicide, whether they are receiving treatment within the VA system of care or elsewhere. We offer expert guidance on subjects that come up frequently in the course of caring for Veterans at risk for suicide. We cannot, however, provide direct guidance or consultation regarding the care of a specific Veteran, nor assume clinical responsibility for patients not under our care; any potential liability would be only in accordance with the Federal Tort Claims Act.

"The consultant was kind and encouraging. She gave me the space to talk about a very difficult client. I didn’t feel rushed and I felt like she really cared. This consultation gave me more confidence in my work with the Veteran. I’m very grateful we have these services available. It makes me feel that I’m not by myself when handling difficult cases."

FAQ

What is the Suicide Risk Management (SRM) Consultation Program?
Why worry alone? The SRM Consultation Program provides free consultation for any provider, community or VA, who serves Veterans at risk for suicide.
Common consultation topics include:
• Risk Assessment
• Conceptualization of Suicide Risk
• Lethal Means Safety Counseling
• Strategies for How to Engage Veterans at High Risk
• Best Practices for Documentation
• Provider Support after a Suicide Loss (Postvention)
 
How does the SRM Consultation Program work?
1. Email srmconsult@va.gov
2. SRM Consultation Program staff will contact you to discuss your questions over email or by phone
 
Can the SRM Consultation Program be helpful to me?
Caring for Veterans at risk for suicide can be stressful and emotionally challenging. This stress can impact the therapeutic relationship, clinical decision making, and documentation. Consultants collaboratively work with providers to increase their confidence by providing concrete tools and support. Consultation is a great way to get a second opinion on a challenging case, get support, and enhance your work from a medicolegal perspective.
 
What makes the SRM Consultation Program unique?
SRM Consultants are experts in Veteran suicide risk assessment and management. They are both clinicians and well-informed researchers, which allows them to provide consultation that is based on the most up-to-date literature in the field, but can easily be used in the next session with a patient you are worried about.

Promote SRM

Rocky Mountain MIRECC’s Suicide Risk Management Consultation Program is launching a new campaign, #NeverWorryAlone, to raise awareness of the program’s expansion to include providers in the community in addition to VA providers.

Help promote #NeverWorryAlone and bring this service to providers in the community serving Veterans.

You can download products that you can share with providers in your networks and community.

Downloads

FAQ Sheet

One page information sheet

SRM #NeverWorryAlone image for social media

Entire package

Client Feedback

Feedback from our satisfaction surveys demonstrate positive consultant/consultee collaborations

Overall satisfaction:
95% were either Very Satisfied or Satisfied
Recommendations were useful:
90% Excellent or Very Good
Would you recommend the program to a colleague:
92% Most Definitely

"Our team literally used almost every recommendation that was made. Our team felt much more comfortable with the Veteran’s discharge from inpatient unit due to the recommendations made. The Veteran’s length of stay was directly impacted by this consultation."

What consultees found most helpful:

  • Support and validation regarding their work with Veterans
  • Collaborative discussion around alternatives
  • Recommendations around documentation
  • “Fresh eyes” on the case

Program Staff

Bridget B. Matarazzo PsyD
Bridget B. Matarazzo, PsyD
Suicide Risk Management Consultation Program Co-Director and Consultant
Dr. Matarazzo co-directs the program with her colleague, Dr. Wortzel, and serves as a consultant. She is the Director of Clinical Services at the Rocky Mountain MIRECC for Suicide Prevention where she enjoys developing and evaluating suicide risk assessment and management practices. She partnered with her colleagues to develop the Rocky Mountain MIRECC’s model of Therapeutic Risk Management of the Suicidal Patient, which serves as a foundation for the SRM consult program. She conducts research related to suicide prevention interventions aimed at engaging high risk patients in care. Clinically, she provides individual psychotherapy and assessment services to Veterans at high risk for suicide.
 
Hal S. Wortzel MD
Hal S. Wortzel, MD
Suicide Risk Management Consultation Program Co-Director and Consultant
Dr. Wortzel has co-directed suicide consultation programming at the Rocky Mountain MIRECC for nearly a decade. He helped establish the National Suicide Risk Management Consultation Program and serves as Co-director. He co-created the Rock Mountain MIRECC’s model for therapeutic risk management of the suicidal patient, and has participated in a number of research studies involving Veterans at risk for suicide. Dr. Wortzel’s clinical focus is the neuropsychiatry of trauma and its sequelae, including aggression and self-directed violence.
 
Sarra Nazem PhD
Sarra Nazem, Ph.D.
Suicide Risk Management Consultation Program Consultant
Dr. Nazem serves as a consultant for the Suicide Risk Management Consultation Program, specializing in suicide postvention and geropsychology consultation. Dr. Nazem received her Ph.D. from West Virginia University and completed a two-year advanced VA fellowship program in Mental Illness Research and Treatment at the Rocky Mountain MIRECC. Dr. Nazem’s clinical and research interests include suicide risk assessment and management, behavioral assessment of suicide, acquired capability of suicide, and sleep (i.e., insomnia, nightmares).
 
Georgia Gerard LCSW
Georgia Gerard, LCSW
Suicide Risk Management Consultation Program Consultant and Program Support Specialist
Ms. Gerard is a social worker in the Rocky Mountain MIRECC. She provides administrative support for the consultation program as well as consultation. She also provides clinical and implementation support for the Recovery Engagement and Coordination for Health -Veterans Enhanced Treatment (REACH VET) program. She has served as a clinician and in other various roles for research studies focusing on Veterans at risk for suicide. Clinically, she provides evidence-based psychotherapy to Veterans with PTSD and assessment services to Veterans at high risk for suicide.
 
Kaily A. Cannizzaro, PsyD
Kaily A. Cannizzaro, PsyD
Suicide Risk Management Consultation Program Consultant
Dr. Cannizzaro has worked with the Suicide Risk Management Consultation Program since January 2017. She has a background in suicide risk management as a prior VA Suicide Prevention Coordinator and is now part of the Recovery Engagement and Coordination for Health -Veterans Enhanced Treatment (REACH VET) program Clinical Support Team, as well as the POC for REACH VET facilitation implementation efforts across 7 VISNs. Clinical interests include suicide risk management and trauma based work with Veterans.
 

 

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