MIRECC / CoE
Rocky Mountain MIRECC for Veteran Suicide Prevention
2019 Rocky Mountain MIRECC News for You Archive
Updated: 30 July 2019
- Postvention Podcast 8: Managing Legal and Ethical Considerations after a Suicide Loss
- 18 June 2019 - Remember “Compassion over Caution” when considering legal and ethical challenges that may arise when working with patients who are experiencing suicidal thoughts. Tune into this episode with our host Dr. Sarra Nazem, as Dr. Vanessa McGann and Skip Simpson, JD discuss suicide postvention ethical and legal considerations. They provide recommendations on how to manage confidentiality and liability queries that may arise both before and after a suicide loss in a manner that is ethical, legal, and helpful to personal and professional healing.
Listen to Managing Legal and Ethical Considerations after a Suicide Loss
- Postvention Podcast 7: Postvention Practices for Military Settings
- 3 June 2019 - “We grieve because we love;” join Kim Ruocco, Vice President of T.A.P.S., and Dr. Maggie Guglielmi of the Stratton VAMC who are leaders in providing suicide postvention for those who are military connected or a part of the Veteran community (including supervisors, providers or professional caregivers who work with military personnel and veterans). In this episode, hosted by Dr. Sarra Nazem, they discuss cutting edge recommendations for postvention processes, as well as how to establish and utilize suicide postvention teams and peer support for these loss survivors. Be sure to check out the resources discussed in this episode by clicking on the episode title!
Listen to Postvention Practices for Military Settings
- Postvention Podcast 6: Postvention Practices for Medical Settings
- 20 May 2019 - Balancing administrative needs and clinical support are essential to postvention in medical settings. Listen to this episode to learn from the breadth of experience that Drs. Sung and Myers have carrying out suicide postvention processes and providing suicide postvention training and support for employees, supervisors and patients within medical settings. Together with our host, Dr. Nazem, they break down recommended best practices and provide suggested resources to help optimize suicide postvention processes.
Listen to Postvention Practices for Medical Settings
- Podcast: Food insecurity as “nutritional functioning” with Dr. Diana Brostow
- 15 May 2019 - This week, Adam interviews Dr. Diana Brostow, a Research Nutritionist at the Rocky Mountain MIRECC, about her work in food insecurity. She shares how our understanding of food insecurity is changing: It cannot be seen as strictly a poverty issue, i.e. “no money = no food = hunger”, but instead is a complex problem, shaped by social, psychological, cultural, and environmental forces. Diana shares her research findings on nutrition and mental health, explains how she is reframing food insecurity as “nutritional functioning”, and outlines future directions for this line of investigation.
Listen to Food insecurity as “nutritional functioning”
- Pub: Mental Illness, Not Obesity Status, is Associated with Food Insecurity Among the Elderly in the Health and Retirement Study
- 14 May 2019 - RMIRECC research psychologist Drs. Diana Browstow and Lisa Brenner worked on this paper whose objective was, "Food insecurity, limited or uncertain access to adequate nutrition, is an increasingly recognized determinant of health outcomes and is often associated with having obesity. It is unclear, however, if this association persists in elderly populations." Read the full article.
- Postvention Podcast 5: Postvention Practices for Mental Health Centers and Private Practices
- 6 May 2019 - Join our host, Dr. Sarra Nazem, and Dr. Larry Berkowitz and Eliza Jordan Dolan, LISCW of the Riverside Trauma Center as they share their experiences and expertise consulting for, participating in, and implementing suicide postvention in a variety of mental health settings. In this episode, they provide recommendations and resources for developing and fine-tuning an inclusive suicide postvention process to best serve all individuals within a mental health center or private practice that may be affected by suicide loss.
Listen to Postvention Practices for Mental Health Centers and Private Practices
- Veterans Treatment Courts with Joseph Ellis
- 24 April 2019 - Veterans Treatment Courts (VTC) are an alternative to community corrections and the Department of Corrections. It’s an opportunity for our former service members that may find themselves in the justice system to identify and treat mental health and substance use issues that they wouldn’t otherwise get the opportunity to address.
Treatment courts have been around 30 years and Veterans Treatment Courts have been around for around a decade. The difference in VTC is that our courts offer veterans specific treatment for issues like trauma and post-traumatic stress as well the opportunity to work with a veteran mentor or “battle buddy” throughout the program.
Here in Colorado we have 6 state affiliated VTCs located around the state. We are always in need of veterans who would like to volunteer to help the folks in our court. If you have an hour a month to come to court and are willing to keep in touch with a mentee, you can find information by clicking here. Or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I will get you in touch with a mentor program near you.
Listen to Veterans Treatment Courts with Joseph Ellis
- Pub: Concussion and risk of suicide: who, when and under what circumstances?
- 23 April 2019 - RMIRECC research psychologist Drs. Lisa Brenner and Nazanin Bahraini completed "A new analysis has found that concussion and mild traumatic brain injury (mTBI) are linked to an increased risk of suicidal behaviours and thoughts. However, a host of risk factors might influence this correlation, and careful investigation is required to establish which individuals with mTBI might be most at risk of suicide." Read the full article.
- Postvention Podcast 4: Postvention Practices for the Workplace with Dr. Sally Spencer Thomas
- 22 April 2019 - Postvention plans are necessary for every workplace; Dr. Sally Spencer Thomas is a psychologist and suicide loss survivor with expertise on how to provide support for those affected by suicide loss. Tune into this episode with our host Dr. Sarra Nazem as she and Dr. Spencer Thomas discuss the role of suicide postvention in the workplace, recommendations for how to put a postvention plan in place, who within a workplace should be involved, and workplace postvention resources that can be used today.
Listen to Postvention Practices for the Workplace podcast
- RMIRECC Speakers at 52nd Annual American Association of Suicidologist
- 22 April 2019 - The AAS conference this year is in our very own Denver, the Mile High City! And you will have 27 opportunities to see one of us present. And be sure to come by our table in the exhibitor area to meet our staff and grab some from suicide prevention educational material.
Download our presentation list or visit our webpage
- Postvention Podcast 3: Experiencing a Suicide Loss: Professional Caregivers with Drs. Nina Gutin and Vanessa McGann
- 15 April 2019 - Postvention is for providers too; Professional caregivers, such as mental health providers, medical providers, social workers, trainees, case managers, psychiatrists or supervisors are likely to be exposed to a suicide loss at some point in their career. Join Dr. Nazem as she and the co-chairs of the American Association of Suicidology Clinician Survivor Taskforce, Drs. Nina Gutin and Vanessa McGann, discuss why suicide postvention is beneficial and necessary for providers, the components of a postvention plan, and recommendations for how to develop and implement postvention in professional caregiving workplaces.
Listen to the Experiencing a Suicide Loss: Professional Caregivers podcast
- Postvention Podcast 2: Experiencing a Suicide Loss: Family and Friends with Dr. Nina Gutin
- 8 April 2019 - The time after losing a loved one to suicide is like being on a rollercoaster blindfolded; tune in as our host Dr. Sarra Nazem and Dr. Nina Gutin guide us through the lived experiences of family members and friends after a suicide loss. Together they establish what this experience is like for both individuals impacted by the loss and for those around them. They’ll communicate what to expect and how to both provide and seek support for oneself or loved ones including children and adolescents. Dr. Nina Gutin is a suicide loss survivor, clinical psychologist, and pioneer in the field of suicide postvention.
Listen to the Experiencing a Suicide Loss: Family and Friends podcast
- Postvention Podcast 1: Postvention 101 with Dr. Jack Jordan
- 1 April 2019 - Postvention is Prevention; join our host Dr. Sarra Nazem as she and Dr. Jack Jordan lay a foundation for understanding what suicide postvention is, what it entails, who it is for, and why it is essential to a comprehensive suicide prevention plan. Jack Jordan, PhD is a clinical psychologist, grief therapist and published researcher in the field.
Listen to the Postvention 101 podcast
- Publication: Therapeutic Risk Management: Chain Analysis of Suicidal Ideation and Behavior
- 1 April 2019 - RMIRECC PIs Lauren Borges, PhD, Sarra Nazem, PhD, Bridget Matarazzo, PsyD, Sean Barnes, PhD, and Hal Wortzel, MD write "Structural approaches to suicide risk assessment (eg, evaluating the frequency and intensity of suicidal ideation and classifying types of suicidal behavior) often fall short of providing an idiographic and dynamic analysis of the factors driving and maintaining an individual's suicide risk. Structural approaches can be bolstered through chain analysis which facilitates an exploration of the factors maintaining suicidal ideation and behavior based on positive and negative reinforcement. By uncovering the factors causing suicidal ideation and behavior to persist, efficient intervention strategies can be selected to target these pathways. In this column, the authors delineate the use of chain analysis to guide suicide risk assessment and inform treatment planning." Read more
- Publication: Predicting suicide attempts among soldiers who deny suicidal ideation in the Army Study to Assess Risk and Resilience in Servicemembers (Army STARRS)
- 28 March 2019 - RMIRECC PI Peter Gutierrez, PhD participated in this research exploring what is occuring when "Most nonfatal suicide attempts and suicide deaths occur among patients who deny suicidal ideation (SI) during suicide risk screenings." Read more
- Milestone: One MIllion Suicide Prevention Educational Products Sent
- 25 March 2019 - This month the Rocky Mountain MIRECC for Veteran Suicide Prevention Education Team sent out the 1,000,000th suicide prevention product. They have been sending out products all over the world. Last year they reached every VA Vet Center and VAMC and this year their goal is to reach every VA CBOC. The products help VA staff, Veterans and caregivers better understand how we all can Be There when it comes to suicide prevention. All the products are free and can be ordered here
- Podcast: The Conversation with a Veteran after 'Thank You for Your Service' with Jacquelyn Bengfort
- 21 March 2019 - Early in 2019 I saw a simple tweet thanking the Armed Service Arts Partnership (ASAP) for their help in launching a book of poetry. Intrigued, I first wanted to know who was helping Veterans publish their poetry (and you can learn more about this great organization at www.asapasap.org) and then wanted to learn more about the author of the poetry, Jacquelyn Bengfort. So, I messaged her on Twitter and authors do what authors do, she wrote back. We were lucky to be in Washington DC to record most of this face-to-face with a short segment rerecorded over the phone. Jaci is fascinating and Adam does another great job getting the most from wonderful guest. Enjoy. And understand why saying 'Thank you for your service' is just the start of a long and long-lasting conversation.
Listen to the podcast
- Podcast: Lived Experience and Traumatic Brain Injury
- 18 March 2019 - The Coalition for Recovery and Innovation in Traumatic Brain Injury Care Across the Lifespan (CRITICAL) was developed in 2017 to advance patient-centered outcomes for adults living with moderate to severe TBI. The coalition consists of survivors of TBI and their caregivers as well as TBI professionals (clinicians, researchers, and advocates). Funded through a Patient Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI) Eugene Washington PCORI Engagement Award, the CRITICAL aimed to 1) develop resources for empowering individuals with cognitive impairments to collaborate on research and 2) develop a national research agenda for improving the lives of those living with moderate to severe TBI. Adam spoke with Principal Investigator of the CRITICAL project, Dr. Nate Mohatt; Professor at Ohio State University and Director of the Ohio Valley Center for Brain Injury Prevention and Rehabilitation, Dr. John Corrigan; and 14-year traumatic brain injury survivor, Julia Terlinchamp. Dr. Mohatt, Dr. Corrigan, and Julia discuss their experiences with the project and give advice for those wishing to participate in patient-centered outcomes research.
Listen to the podcast
- Opportunity: Advanced Fellowship Program in Mental Illness Research and Treatment: Suicide Prevention
- 28 February 2019 - The Rocky Mountain MIRECC Suicide Prevention Fellowship program is sponsored by the Office of Academic Affiliations (OAA). This fellowship is also fully accredited by the American Psychological Association (APA) Commission on Accreditation. Our full-time 2-year postdoctoral program employs a scientist-practitioner model. With guidance from Clinical Supervisors, a Primary Research Mentor, Principal Investigator Faculty, and input/support from the Training Director, Fellows develop an individualized training plan designed to facilitate the transition from internship to entry-level professional. Learn more.
- Podcast: Safety Planning in the Emergency Room (It Works!) with Drs. Barbara Stanley, Greg Brown and Lisa Brenner
- 27 February 2019 - Adam Hoffberg connected with this high-powered trio to talk about a study they did comparing safety planning intervention with follow-ups versus usual care of suicidal patients. The study changed policy and procedures at the VA, just saying. Greg gives a brief tutorial on safety planning, Barb talks about why follow-up care is important and Lisa discusses future implications.
Listen to the podcast
- Publication: Military-Related Exposures, Social Determinants of Health, and Dysbiosis: The United States-Veteran Microbiome Project (US-VMP)
- 25 February 2019 - RMIRECC PIs Lisa Brenner, Kelly Stearns-Yoder, Chris Stamper, Teo Postlache, Daniel Hadidi, and Claire Hoffmire participated in this paper. From the abstract, "Significant effort has been put forth to increase understanding regarding the role of the human microbiome in health- and disease-related processes. In turn, the United States (US) Veteran Microbiome Project (US-VMP) was conceptualized as a means by which to serially collect microbiome and health-related data from those seeking care within the Veterans Health Administration (VHA). In this manuscript, exposures related to military experiences, as well as conditions and health-related factors among patients seen in VHA clinical settings are discussed in relation to common psychological and physical outcomes." Read more
- Publication: Veteran Preferences for the Caring Contacts Suicide Prevention Intervention
- 15 February 2019 - RMIRECC PIs Bridget Matarazzo, PsyD, Hal Wortzel, MD, Sarra Nazem, PhD and Nazanin Bahraini, Phd worked on this paper with it's provocative title. From the abstract, "The clinical and scientific challenges inherent in treating and investigating suicide warrant novel approaches to this public health issue of paramount importance. The implementation of suicide-specific diagnoses has been proposed as one possible way to address this problem and was described in the first column of this special 2-part series. This second column explores potential unintended consequences related to such proposed diagnoses and alternative solutions that might afford greater benefits. The idea of suicide-specific diagnoses represents a novel approach, and one worthy of further discussion and consideration; the debate featured in this series represents a joint effort to advance the dialogue about suicide and to promote innovation." Read more
- Publication: Veteran Preferences for the Caring Contacts Suicide Prevention Intervention
- 15 February 2019 - RMIRECC PI Bridget Matarazzo, PsyD was a co-author on this publication whose purpose "was to examine high-risk inpatient preferences for the Caring Contacts intervention." The study "suggest that most high-risk veterans would perceive Caring Contacts as helpful and caring. The results provide several practical, helpful tips for programs seeking to establish a Caring Contacts program." Read more
- Podcast: Why We Need to Talk Firearm Safety When We talk about Suicide Prevention with Dr. Michael Anestis
- 13 February 2019 - Firearms can be one of the most divisive issues facing Americans today. But saving lives is a topic we can all get behind. Lethal means safety is a ripe frontier in suicide prevention with an emerging evidence base and growing support from all sides. Join host Adam Hoffberg as he interviews guest Dr. Michael Anestis from the Suicide and Emotion Dysregulation Lab at the University of Southern Mississippi. Mike tackles common myths about the relationship between firearms and suicide, he provides context on how variants of means safety have played a key role in other public health phenomena, and challenges the counterarguments around means substitution. Dr. Anestis shares his vision of a collaborative, partnership-based path forward, explaining some of the hesitation many have entering into discussions about the role of firearms in suicide, and offers practical ways to approach this delicate issue. Mike brings an informed, even-handed, and optimistic perspective that with the right message we can reach gun owners and effectively prevent firearm suicides.
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- Publication: Access to Psychotropic Medication via Prescription Is Associated With Choice of Psychotropic Medication as Suicide Method: A Retrospective Study of 27,876 Suicide Attempts
- 7 February 2019 - RMIRECC PI Dr. Peter Gutierrez also participated in this paper that has as an objective, "Whether physical access to psychotropic medication via prescription (ie, prescribed access) is associated with use of psychotropic medication as a means of subsequent suicide attempt remains unclear. In a population of suicide attempters, we investigated whether prescribed access to any psychotropic medication increased the likelihood of using any psychotropic drug in a suicide attempt and whether prescribed access to a specific psychotropic drug type increased the likelihood of using that specific psychotropic drug type in an attempt." Read more
- Publication: PTSD symptom clusters and suicide attempts among high-risk military service members: A three-month prospective investigation
- 6 February 2019 - RMIRECC PIs Dr. Peter Gutierrez and Jetta Hanson participated in this paper. The objective states: "Suicide rates within the U.S. military are elevated, and the assessment and treatment of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) has been identified as one potential conduit for suicide risk reduction. Despite increased interest in examining whether PTSD symptom clusters differentially predict suicide-related outcomes, to our knowledge no study has examined this question utilizing a prospective design for which suicide attempts is the outcome. Thus, the present study assessed whether PTSD symptom clusters differentially predict suicide attempts at 3-month follow-up and examined the moderating role of combat exposure." Read more
- Publication: The Effect of Childhood Sexual Assault History on Outpatient Cognitive Processing Therapy for Military Sexual Trauma-Related PTSD: A Preliminary Investigation
- 24 January 2019 - RMIRECC Fellow Dr. Ryan Holliday participated in this paper that, from the abstract, "History of childhood sexual assault (CSA) may result in poorer emotion regulation and interpersonal functioning, potentially affecting the tolerability and effectiveness of evidence-based treatments (EBTs) for posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Survivors of military sexual trauma (MST) have an increased incidence of CSA; however, research examining the role of CSA in EBTs for veterans with MST-related PTSD is limited. Data from 32 (9 male; 23 female) veterans with MST-related PTSD were used from a previously conducted randomized clinical trial examining the efficacy of an outpatient PTSD EBT (i.e., cognitive processing therapy [CPT]). Self-rated PTSD symptom severity was assessed at pretreatment, during treatment, and up to 6 months following treatment completion. Number of CPT sessions attended and treatment completion were also examined. Using a hierarchical linear modelling approach, results indicated both veterans with and without a history of CSA were found to benefit from CPT, and history of CSA did not significantly predict treatment response. Additionally, number of sessions attended and treatment completion did not significantly vary based on history of CSA. These preliminary findings provide support for the tolerability and efficacy of outpatient CPT in veterans with MST-related PTSD regardless of CSA history." Read more
- Publication: Relationship between traumatic brain injury history and recent suicidal ideation in Iraq/Afghanistan-era veterans
- 23 January 2019 - RMIRECC PIs Drs.Sarra Nazem and Lisa Brenner along with staff member Trisha Hostetter and former RMIRECC Fellow Robert Shura worked on this paper that was picked up by at least 4 news outlets. From the abstract, "This study evaluated whether a history of traumatic brain injury (TBI) was associated with increased risk for recent suicidal ideation (SI) after accounting for demographics, depression, posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and sleep quality. In terms of increased risk, we hypothesized that a history of lifetime TBI would be associated with increased recent SI when compared with no history of TBI; multiple injuries were also evaluated. Results support the assertion than an accumulation of injuries amplifies risk. Severity of injury and deployment injuries were not significant factors. Among those with a history of 1 TBI, sleep, and depression, which may also be injury sequelae, may be salient treatment targets." Read more
- Podcast: Gender Minority Stress with Dr. Raymond P. Tucker
- 16 January 2019 - Transgender veterans appear to experience suicidal thoughts, attempt suicide, and die by suicide at rates that exceed that of the general population and their cisgender veteran peers. I spoke with Dr. Raymond Tucker, clinical psychologist and an assistant professor of clinical psychology at Louisiana State University, about his work that attempts to understand this increased risk. Dr. Tucker discusses his recent research regarding gender minority stress (e.g., discrimination, transgender shame, and fear one’s gender identity would be discovered) and their relationship to suicidal thoughts in transgender veterans. Dr. Tucker also discusses his research that indicates access to transition-related medical interventions, such as hormone therapy and gender affirmation surgeries, may protect transgender veterans from thoughts of suicide.
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- Podcast: On Ethnography in Implementation Science with Dr. Lindsey Martin
- 9 January 2019 - Dr. Lindsey Ann Martin, a medical anthropologist from the Center for Innovations in Quality, Effectiveness and Safety at the Michael E. DeBakey VA Medical Center in Houston, Texas discusses with Adam the role of ethnographic methods in the field of implementation science at the recent 2018 D&I conference in Washington, DC. In this podcast, Lindsey talks about how she is using ‘periodic reflections’, a method developed by Drs. Erin Finley (San Antonio VA) and Alison Hamilton (Greater Los Angeles VA), to evaluate a facilitation strategy to implement video telehealth to home (VTH) for rural Veterans.
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Rocky Mountain Regional VAMC (RMR VAMC)
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