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Rocky Mountain MIRECC for Veteran Suicide Prevention

Rocky Mountain MIRECC for Veteran Suicide Prevention

2017 Rocky Mountain MIRECC News for You Archive

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Helping Others Hold OnPodcast: Helping Others Hold On
6 December 2017 - PsychArmor Institute’s FREE online course Helping Others Hold On provides tools and tips to recognize, understand, and combat suicidal feelings in Veterans. Course leaders Dr. Craig J. Bryan, Executive Director of the National Center for Veteran Studies at The University of Utah, and Carie Rodgers, Ph.D., Education Director of PsychArmor Institute provide an overview and discuss the coded language of suicide, the importance of sleep, and crisis response planning.

Rocky Mountain Short Takes Podcast Listen

Dr. Shelby ScottTransgender Veteran Mental Health Care: Introduction to Terminology, Enhancing Clinical Skills, and Continuing Education
20 November 2017 - In honor of Transgender Awareness Month, Dr. Shelby Scott, Denver VA Clinical Psychologist and Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Veteran Care Coordinator, spoke with Adam Hoffberg at the Denver VA Rocky Mountain MIRECC to provide a thorough introduction to this topic. Dr. Scott discusses specific clinical recommendations that can improve the way all VA providers serve our transgender Veterans, medical and mental health services provided by the VA, and how to get connected to additional VA and community resources!

Rocky Mountain Short Takes Podcast Listen

Dr. Lindsey MonteithDr. Lindsey Monteith Publishes: Childhood Abuse, the Interpersonal–Psychological Theory of Suicide, and the Mediating Role of Depression
1 November 2017 - Dr. Lindsey Monteith published this week in Suicide and Life-Threatening Behavior an article that further explores the role of childhood abuse in later self-directed violence. The paper looks at different forms of abuse and their relationship to the Interpersonal–Psychological Theory of Suicide. Read the paper here.
The second Zero Suicide Trilogy Podcast is liveThe Second Zero Suicide Trilogy Podcast
18 October 2017 - We present our 2nd Zero Suicide Trilogy with stories recorded at the 2017 Bridging the Divide Conference last May. This trilogy features Ursula Whiteside (Why and How Now Matters Now), Richard McKeon (An Agency's Approach to Zero Suicide) and Sarah Brummett (A State's Approach to Zero Suicide). These conversations are short and give a brilliant insight to Zero Suicide.
The VA HOME Program on the Vantage Point blogClinical Program: VA HOME Program
7 September 2017 - The VAntage Point blog has a story featuring Dr. Bridget Matarazzo from Rocky Mountain MIRECC for Veteran Suicide Prevention. The story, "New program allows VA staff to make house calls for Veterans who return home after inpatient mental health care" dives into how providing home care to Veterans after inpatient psychiatric care prevents suicide. Read the full story.
Dese'Rae L. StagePodcast: Life Experience Captured with Dese'Rae L. Stage
6 September 2017 - Live Through This #Stay...captured through the art, the lens, the stories of our lived experience. Adam caught up with Dese'Rae earlier this summer and this conversation is the result. I was listening in on the other line and she blew me away with her everything-ness. Adam would ask her about how she came up with this or that idea and Des would just say something like, "I got bored one day so I wrote this program/created this movie/started this movement." Yes, of course you did and we all benefited.

Rocky Mountain Short Takes Podcast Listen

Dr. Lindsey MonteithPub: Sexual dysfunction is associated with suicidal ideation in female service members and veterans
5 September 2017 - Dr. Lindsey Monteith is the co-author on this paper that explores the association of "sexual dysfunction, which may be a possible component of thwarted belonging and perceived burdensomeness, with suicidal ideation." Results suggest "screening for sexual dysfunction in female service members/veterans might help identify those at risk for suicidal ideation." Read the full article.
Journal of Personality and Mental HealthPub: The role of emotion regulation in predicting personality dimensions
30 August 2017 - Rocky Mountain MIRECC for Veteran Suicide Prevention Post-Doc Fellow Lauren Borges, PhD, published "The role of emotion regulation in predicting personality dimensions" in Personality and Mental Health. From the article abstract "These findings provide preliminary evidence that some personality dimensions never assessed in relation to emotion regulation are strongly predicted by emotion regulation variables."
Joseph A. Simonetti, MD, MPH from Rocky Mountain MIRECC for Veteran Suicide PreventionPub: Formal firearm training among adults in the USA: results of a national survey
29 August 2017 - Joseph A. Simonetti, MD, MPH from Rocky Mountain MIRECC for Veteran Suicide Prevention was co-author on this paper published in BMJ Journals. The article explored what percent of firearm owners had taken a formal training course (61% versus 56-58% in 1994). Additionally, they looked at the content of the courses and found that 15% including information about suicide prevention. The authors recommend standardizing training and evaluating the effectiveness of the training.
Barbara Van Dahlen from Give an HourPodcast: Why’s it gotta be this hard? (Maybe it doesn’t)
23 August 2017 - Sometimes it can feel like making real progress in mental health (and perhaps especially suicide prevention) is an overwhelming, sometimes impossible task. How can we counter the “bigness” of the job? Dr. Barbara Van Dahlen, founder of Give an Hour, gives this advice: Go Simple

Rocky Mountain Short Takes Podcast Listen

authors for Problem-Solving Therapy for Suicide Prevention in Veterans With Moderate-to-Severe Traumatic Brain InjuryPub: Problem-Solving Therapy for Suicide Prevention in Veterans With Moderate-to-Severe Traumatic Brain Injury
14 August 2017 - Authors from Rocky Mountain MIRECC for Veteran Suicide Prevention published today in Rehabilitation Psychology. The article explored the "acceptability and feasibility of Problem-Solving Therapy for Suicide Prevention (PST-SP)" for Veterans with hopelessness and moderate to severe TBI. Initial indications are positive. The next research step is to conduct a Phase II randomized controlled trial. Stay tuned!
David JobesPodcast: Looking 30 Years Ahead and 30 Years Behind with David A. Jobes, Ph.D., ABPP
9 August 2017 - Earlier this summer I called Dave and hit the record button. What followed was a chance to look forward into the future of suicide prevention based on 30 years of work and research in our chosen field of suicide prevention. Listening to Dave you can get the sense that we are on the cusp of dramatic changes in how we treat the individuals in our care.

Rocky Mountain Short Takes Podcast Listen

Team RubiconPodcast: Team Rubicon: Regaining a sense of purpose, community and identity
28 June 2017 - Melissa continues her community reintegration series with Amanda Burke from Team Rubicon. The Team Rubicon message is "Disasters are our business. Veterans are our passion." And you'll hear it in Amanda's voice as she describes her own journey and her continuing passion.

Rocky Mountain Short Takes Podcast Listen

Warrior CaninePodcast: Meet Matt (human) and James (canine) from Warrior Canine Connection
21 June 2017 - Meet Matt (human) and James (canine), who became friends through shared service - and maybe a little bit of fate. When Matt returned home to the States, after a stay at Walter Reed, he joined Warrior Canine Connection only reluctantly. In this interview, Matt shares his experience working through to the other side of TBI and PTSD, and the role James plays.
Rocky Mountain Short Takes Podcast Listen
Sally Spencer-ThomasPodcast: Suicide Prevention in the Construction Industry with Sally Spencer-Thomas PhD
14 June 2017 - The Bridging the Divide Conference is an annual event in Denver put on by Suicide Prevention Coalition of Colorado and this year we caught up with the very busy, very energetic Sally Spencer-Thomas. Lately, Sally has taken up suicide prevention work in the construction industry. This was not a population I was familiar with but as you'll find in listening to this podcast the overlap between this industry and Veterans is surprisingly large.
Rocky Mountain Short Takes Podcast Listen
Podcast: The Zero Suicide TrilogyPodcast: The Zero Suicide Trilogy
31 May 2017 - During the 50th annual American Association of Suicidologist conference in Phoenix, AZ Adam had the chance to interview three leaders in the Zero Suicide Initiative, Julie Goldstein, Anthony Pisani and Brian Ahmandani.
An Introduction to the Zero Suicide Initiative with Julie Goldstein GrumetAn Introduction to the Zero Suicide Initiative with Julie Goldstein Grumet, Ph.D.
31 May 2017 - Julie is the Director of Health and Behavioral Health Initiatives at the Suicide Prevention Resource Center (SPRC). Dr. Goldstein Grumet provides strategic direction to improve the effectiveness of behavioral health, clinical care, and primary care providers to recognize and respond to suicide emergencies. She oversees the Zero Suicide initiative for SPRC, supporting the work of state and health care leaders who are implementing system-wide approaches to suicide prevention.
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A new take on Zero Suicide and Risk Formulation with Tony PisaniA new take on Zero Suicide and Risk Formulation with Tony Pisani, Ph.D.
31 May 2017 - Tony Pisani, Ph.D. (University of Rochester Center for the Study and Prevention of Suicide) discusses his model for suicide safer care, prevention-oriented risk formulation, and the need for a common framework for assessing, communicating, and responding to suicide risk for clinicians, patients, and the medical record. Dr. Pisani will be releasing new materials and training opportunities soon. To be notified when updates are available, please visit
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Suicide Prevention in Health Systems with Brian AhmedaniSuicide Prevention in Health Systems with Brian Ahmedani, Ph.D. L.M.S.W.
31 May 2017 - Dr. Ahmendani joined the Center for Health Policy and Health Services Research at Henry Ford Health System (HFHS) in 2010. The Center for Health Services Research investigates ways to improve the quality, efficiency and equity of health care. This podcast discusses some of the the history of the zero suicide initiative and Henry Ford Health System, including recent research findings on suicide prevention in health systems.
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Factors Affecting Resilience and Development of Posttraumatic Stress Disorder in Critical Care NursesPub: Factors Affecting Resilience and Development of Posttraumatic Stress Disorder in Critical Care Nurses
24 May 2017 - Dr Meredith Mealer published this article in the May 2017 edition of American Journal of Critical Care. The article explores "Job stress and cumulative exposure to traumatic events experienced by critical care nurses can lead to psychological distress and the development of burnout syndrome and posttraumatic stress disorder. Resilience can mitigate symptoms associated with these conditions." Also listen to Meridith's podcast:
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AmericaServesPodcast: Creating Communities to Serve Those Who Served - AmericaServes
17 May 2017 - Melissa McHarg interviews Michael Haynie, Ph.D. the Executive Director & Founder of Institute for Veterans and Military Families (IVMF) at Syracuse University. The conversation takes a close look at AmericaServes. The mission of AmericaServes is “to empower human services providers in the United States, and equip them with the technological and informational resources needed to efficiently and effectively guide service members, veterans, and their families to the most appropriate services and resources.”
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Spiritually Integrated CarePodcast: Spiritually Integrated Care for PTSD and Moral Injury
3 May 2017 - Veterans who present with PTSD and moral injury often report spiritual distress that places them at higher risk for suicide. In this podcast, we share up to date research on moral injury, spiritual distress, and empirically tested techniques for helping veterans use their own spiritual resources as an asset in their recovery.
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The Association Between Posttraumatic Stress Disorder and Perceptions of Deployment-Related Injury in Veterans With and Without Mild Traumatic Brain InjuryNew Pub: The Association Between Posttraumatic Stress Disorder and Perceptions of Deployment-Related Injury in Veterans With and Without Mild Traumatic Brain Injury
21 April 2017 - RMIRECC Drs. Nazanin Bahraini, Lindsey Monteith, Jeri Forster and Lisa Brenner (along with Holly Gerber and Trisha Hostetter) published this important article that examines " whether the association between PTSD and injury perceptions differs for Veterans with mild traumatic brain injury compared with Veterans with non-TBI." They conclude: "PTSD symptom severity influences perceptions about mTBI and non-TBIs sustained during deployment. Altering injury perceptions may be an important treatment target for Veterans with co-occurring PTSD and deployment-related injuries."
Straight Scoop for VeteransStraight Scoop for Veterans - What Two Guys Can Do
19 April 2017 - Melissa McHarg interviews Roger Pipkin from Straight Scoop for Veterans. Roger tells the amazing story of how he and a friend decided to tackle Veteran suicide in New Mexico. You won't believe the progress they have made.
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A A S ConferenceRMIRECC @ 50th Annual AAS Conference
17 April 2017 - RMIRECC will be providing 11 presentations at the 50th annual American Association of Suicidology (AAS) in Phoenix, AZ. The conference starts next week with a full day presentation titled "Therapeutic Risk Management of the Suicidal Patient (TRMSP)" by Sarra Nazem PhD, Bridget Matarazzo PsyD, and Hal Wortzel MD. The last day ends with Adam Hoffberg, Nasi Bahraini PhD, and Joe Huggins presenting on "Increasing Your Digital Impact". Find short videos on almost all the presentations.
The Camouflage ClosetThe Camouflage Closet: Strong, Resilient LGBT Veterans!
5 April 2017 - Nine Veterans were given cameras to tell their stories; their resiliency, their strength and their efforts overcoming. An amazing quote "research indicates that 75% of all Veterans with PTSD state that they have also experienced PTSD Growth."
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Team Red White and BluePodcast: health + people + purpose = The Team RWB Enrichment Equation
29 March 2017 - Team RWB is a nationwide organization with over 115,000 members, in over 200 locations and their mission is to enrich the lives of America’s veterans by connecting them to their community through physical and social activity.
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Mental Health in Allergic RhinitisNew Pub: Mental Health in Allergic Rhinitis: Depression and Suicidal Behavior
28 March 2017 - MVM Core Team Members Christopher A. Lowry, Lisa A Brenner, Andrew J. Hoisington, and Teodor T. Postolache published an article entitled "Mental Health in Allergic Rhinitis: Depression and Suicidal Behavior" in the journal Current Treatment Options in Allergy. From the abstract, "For the clinicians routinely treating a substantial patient population with allergic diseases, there are additional concerns, as allergy has been linked with both depression and suicidal behavior."
Adam HoffbergAdam Hoffberg Appears on SPSM Chat
26 March 2017 - RMIRECC's Adam Hoffberg was the guest on SPSM Chat getting the message out about the podcast Rocky Mountain Short Takes on Suicide Prevention and many of the other work being done. SPSM Chat is a twitter-based conversation that "is targeted at mental health and communications professionals using social media to make suicide a “never” event. SPSM chats occur every Sunday night 9pm CST.
Suzanne McGarityPodcast: Community Reintegration for Veterans after TBI
22 March 2017 - In honor of March being Brain Injury Awareness Month we wanted to discuss the article “Community Reintegration Problems Among Veterans and Active Duty Service Members With Traumatic Brain Injury.”
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Adam HoffbergPublished: Epidemiology and prognosis of mild traumatic brain injury in returning soldiers - A cohort study
21 March 2017 - Dr. Lisa Brenner published this article with an impressive list of co-authors in the March 2017 of Neurology. The article is part of a larger study that will continue monitoring this group of returning soldiers from Afghanistan and Iraq. This article is at a 3 month follow-up; there will be future follow-up at 6 and 12 months. The study reports that 47% of the soldiers who had sustained a mild TBI reported at their 3 month follow-up postconcussive symptoms (PCS). Most commonly the symptoms were sleep problems, forgetfulness, irritability and headaches.
Podcast: Talking Community Response with Denver Co-Responder Team ProgramPodcast: Talking Community Response with Denver Co-Responder Team Program
8 March 2017 - This week’s Rocky Mountain MIRECC Short Takes podcast highlights a local program invested in proactively reaching out to individuals who may experience mental health challenges, and build healthy relationships that better serve community members both in crisis and for the long haul.
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Carl Castro

Rocky Mountain Short Takes on Suicide Prevention: Colonel Carl Castro, PhD on the Military Suicide Transition Theory, The Hemingway Effect and the Importance of Understanding the Military Family

22 February 2017

Adam interviews Dr. Carl Castro, retired Colonel from the US Army, about his extensive work in area of suicide prevention, especially as it relates to the military community. Their conversation is far ranging but really does a wonderful job discussing transitions as a way to understand suicide in the military community. Dr. Castro also tells us about Ernest Hemingway, an army Veteran, and how his death can serve as a paradigm to understand the suicide death of elderly Veterans.

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The podcast is approximately 32 minutes long.

You can subscribe to the RM Short Takes Podcast on iTunes, Google Play or your favorite podcasts tool.

Categories: Suicide Prevention

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Published: Initial Validation of the Self-Directed Violence Picture System (SDVPS)

Journal of Psychological Assessment

21 February 2017

Out this week in Psychological Assessment is an article from three of our investigators: Sarra Nazem PhD, Jeri Forster PhD and Lisa Brenner PhD, ABPP. The article explores a novel approach to assist in identifying persons with suicidal ideation who will and will not go on to engage in self-directed violence (SDV). In our recent podcast with Craig Bryan PhD makes clear it is imperative that we be able to determine amongst the many who experience suicidal ideation from those who will go on to engage in SDV behaviors.

Dr. Nazem's approach builds on the work by Matthew Nock PhD at Harvard and Sean Barnes PhD here at RMIRECC using the Implicit Association Test (IAT). Dr. Nazem has substituted images for text to to measure the associated response. This initial study demonstrates that the images elicited a a stronger response than text in the expected positive, negative and neutral directions.

If you are a researcher interested in using SDVPS please contact us.

Learn more about the publication DOI: 10.1037/pas0000448

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Published: Perceived Burdensomeness, Thwarted Belongingness, and Fearlessness about Death: Associations With Suicidal Ideation among Female Veterans Exposed to Military Sexual Trauma

13 February 2017

Journal cover

Rocky Mountain MIRECC for Suicide Prevention researchers Lindsey Monteith PhD and Nasi Bahraini Phd along with Deleene Menefee PhD from South Central MIRECC published this article in the February issue of Journal of Clinical Psychology.

The study of female Veterans with a history of military sexual trauma strived to see whether aspects from the interpersonal-psychological theory of suicide might be applied to suicidal ideation within this group. Studies before this one often looked at the psychological aftermath of the trauma. The researchers here wanted to see if a well-established theory helped better understand the outcomes within the group. The study found that the constructs perceived burdensomeness and fearlessness about death were associated with suicidal ideation. For clinicians working with this group of Veterans it is important to examine these particular areas.

Find the paper at DOI: 10.1002/jclp.22462

Listen to Dr. Monteith discuss her earlier work on MST in this podcast:
and watch for next podcast to drop soon!

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Published: Connecting Veterans at Risk for Suicide to Care Through the HOME Program

10 February 2017

Suicide Life Threatening Behavior

Rocky Mountain MIRECC researchers Bridget B. Matarazzo PsyD, Melodi Billera LCSW, Jeri E. Forster PhD, and Lisa A. Brenner PhD, ABPP (Rp) published an article in Suicide and Life-Threatening Behavior titled "Connecting Veterans at Risk for Suicide to Care Through the HOME Program."

The HOME (Home-Based Mental Health Evaluation) program "engages veterans in care following psychiatric hospitalization." The HOME program recognizes that the transition from psychiatric hospitalization to home is a high risk time for Veterans, for anyone. The study explored whether providing some in-home contact during this period might reduce this risk. The study is encouraging because it "suggest that the HOME program is effective at engaging veterans in care during the high-risk period of time following psychiatric hospitalization."

Read more on the HOME program
Find the article using DOI: 10.1111/sltb.12334

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Rocky Mountain Short Takes on Suicide Prevention: Collaborative Safety Planning for Older Adults

8 February 2017

This week join Adam Hoffberg as he chats with Dr. Elizabeth Conti a clinical psychologist and Postdoctoral Research Fellow with the VA Center for Innovation. Dr. Conti, along with four of her colleagues from the VA’s South Central MIRECC published the manual Collaborative Safety Planning for Older Adults. Dr. Conti gives a wonderful overview of what a safety plan is and leads our audience through creating one. Then she answers why safety planning with older adults’ presents challenges that clinician’s need to address in their practice. Throughout the conversation Elizabeth describes a collaborative approach that harkens to the work of Dr. David Jobes. This is a podcast where clinicians will gain a deeper appreciation of the safety plan and be able to use the skills learned in their everyday practice.

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The podcast is approximately 24 minutes long.

You can subscribe to the RM Short Takes Podcast on iTunes, Google Play or your favorite podcasts tool.

Categories: Suicide Prevention

Study Recruitment:
Diet in Male Veterans in Colorado with Multiple Sclerosis (MS)


19 January 2017

We are now recruiting for the study Diet in Male Veterans in Colorado with Multiple Sclerosis (MS) COMIRB#: 15-1369.

This study is looking into whether dietary factors play a role in quality of life for male Veterans with MS. Participation in this study involves a 2-hour visit at the Denver, Golden or Colorado Springs Veterans Affairs facilities in which you will be filling out questionnaires. Compensation will be provided.

For more information about this study or to schedule an appointment, please call Daniel Hadidi at 303-399-8020 ext. 4714.

Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI) Awards Grant to Nathaniel Mohatt

6 January 2017

Nate Mohatt

The Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI), an independent nonprofit, nongovernmental organization awarded a grant to Nathaniel (Nate) Mohatt, Research Psychologist, Rocky Mountain MIRECC; Assistant Professor, Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, University of Colorado Denver, for his study Coalition for Recovery and Innovation in Traumatic Brain Injury Care Across the Lifespan (CRITICAL).

Learn more about Nate and this research.


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Rocky Mountain Short Takes on Suicide Prevention: Craig Bryan on Fluid Vulnerability Theory - a way to Understand Acute and Chronic Suicide Risk

25 January 2017

This week Adam discusses Fluid Vulnerability Theory with Craig Bryan, PsyD, with the National Center for Veterans Studies at the University of Utah. Dr. Bryan ducked into an empty room at the hospital where he was delivering a talk to chat with Adam. Craig served four years in the Air Force and deployed to Iraq in 2009 as Director of the Traumatic Brain Injury Clinic at the Air Force Theater Hospital in Balad, Iraq. Later he worked with Dr. David Rudd as Dr. Rudd developed Fluid Vulnerability Theory (FVT). FVT states that “suicide risk is an inherently dynamically changing construct...that risk will fluctuate over time.” And it is through understanding the processes that underlie the “ideation to acting framework” where work and change come about. Listening to these two really get in the weeds about FVT is like having a full conference presentation delivered right to you. It is fascinating.

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The podcast is approximately 40 minutes long.

You can subscribe to the RM Short Takes Podcast on iTunes, Google Play or your favorite podcasts tool.

Categories: Suicide Prevention

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RM MIRECC MVM CoRE Researcher Makes Top 10 List!

Chris Lowry

19 January 2017

Christopher Lowry, Co-Director of the Military and Veteran Microbiome: Consortium for Research and Education (MVMCoRE) and associate professor University of Colorado Department of Integrative Physiology, was acknowledged as contributing one of the top 10 studies that advances or breaks through mental health research.

The Brain & Behavior Research Foundation, one of the nation’s leading non-governmental funding source for mental health research, identified Dr. Lowry's research as a "potential game changer". The study, Immunization with a heat-killed preparation of the environmental bacterium Mycobacterium vaccae promotes stress resilience in mice, was published in May 2016 in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS).

We were lucky enough to catch up with Chris shortly after this article published and record a podcast. The podcast is 22 minutes long and should not be missed. Listen to Exploring the Possible Role of the Microbiome in Suicide.


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Military Times: VA is studying gut bacteria in PTSD, TBI patients - Join the Probiotics Study


After work first done by MVM's own Christopher Lowry there is a new study being launched at the VA lead by Lisa Brenner and Christopher Lowry exploring whether an over-the-counter probiotic can lead to positive results for PTSD and TBI.

Learn more about joining the Probiotics study

Read the article

Listen to Chris' podcast on this topic

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Rocky Mountain Short Takes on Suicide Prevention: Working towards a better understanding of suicide loss

11 January 2017

Suicide is known as a rare event, yet the large number of those impacted by suicide (through exposure, and closer connections including bereavement) makes suicide loss relatable to every human. Preliminary research on suicide bereavement in Veterans and Military Families shows that military family members who have lost someone to suicide are at greater risk for depression, anxiety, and suicidal thoughts of their own. Melanie Hom, M.A., a clinical graduate student at Thomas Joiners’ Laboratory for the Study and Prevention of Suicide-Related Conditions continues this line of research, which she discusses with Adam in this week’s Short Takes podcast. Using common data elements aggregated across 15 studies funded by the Military Suicide Research Consortium, this study finds that the majority (over 50%) of service members and Veterans know someone who has died by suicide. Melanie shares findings about those affected by suicide loss, as well as important clinical implications and needed next steps for future research.

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Related resources:

Resources for loved ones bereaved by suicide:

The podcast is approximately 25 minutes long.

You can subscribe to the RM Short Takes Podcast on iTunes, Google Play or your favorite podcasts tool.

Categories: Suicide Prevention

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