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Rocky Mountain MIRECC for Veteran Suicide Prevention

Rocky Mountain MIRECC for Veteran Suicide Prevention

2019 Rocky Mountain MIRECC News for You Archive

Jump to: 2018 | 2017 | 2016

Updated: 22 April 2019

 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 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.

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 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.

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 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.

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 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
Ray TuckerPodcast: 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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Lindsey MartinPodcast: 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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