MIRECC / CoE
Rocky Mountain MIRECC for Veteran Suicide Prevention - Our Research
The Rocky Mountain Mental Illness Research, Education and Clinical Center (MIRECC) for Suicide Prevention carries out research in both the Rocky Mountain Regional VA and Salt Lake City VA. We also partner across the U.S. with other VA sites, the Department of Defense and in local communities. Our research has informed changes to policy and practice throughout VHA and the community. Keep reading to learn more and see specific examples of our research.
Our Research Focus Areas
Suicide is complicated and has multiple causes. We study suicide from multiple angles, looking at factors that might put a Veteran at risk for suicide, as well as factors that help protect Veterans from suicidal thoughts or behaviors.
Our research covers a wide range of topics related to suicide prevention, including the neurobiology of suicide, clinical and behavioral interventions targeting suicidal behavior, tailoring treatments to diverse Veteran populations and implementation of evidence-based practices for suicide prevention. Our programs and research are also aligned with the National Strategy for Preventing Veteran Suicide.
Our investigators explore a range of treatments and clinical interventions that may treat suicidal thoughts and behaviors both directly and indirectly. Direct interventions include treatments that specifically target suicide ideation or behaviors. Indirect interventions, on the other hand, often address suicide risk factors, including co-occurring medical and mental health conditions. Treating these “indirect” causes may help reduce overall suicide risk or improve the effectiveness of direct interventions.
Acceptance & Commitment Therapy (ACT) for Life
Dr. Sean Barnes and his team are studying a treatment called Acceptance & Commitment Therapy (ACT) for Life, with the goal of reducing suicide risk and helping Veterans build a life worth living. This treatment can be especially powerful during a Veteran’s transition from inpatient hospital care back to home or outpatient care. ACT studies are in the clinical research phases, which means these interventions are being tested to see if they are effective in reducing suicide risk and increasing functioning for Veterans.
- Click the image to enlarge and learn more about the conclusions from the pilot study.
- Podcast: Beyond Prevention — Acceptance and Commitment Therapy for Life
Acceptance & Commitment Therapy (ACT) for Moral Injury
Many Veterans who report experiences of moral injury have received treatment for PTSD. But there is not a treatment that specifically addresses moral emotions like guilt, shame, disgust and anger. Dr. Borges and her team are studying if ACT for Moral Injury helps Veterans recover after their morals are violated in the warzone. Like ACT for Life, this study is also part of the clinical research phase. The visual abstract below shows Veterans’ perspectives leading to development of a moral injury specific treatment.
Click the image to enlarge and learn more.
Insomnia and Suicide Prevention: New Approaches for Treatment
Insomnia has been shown to directly and indirectly impact suicide risk. This means that effectively treating insomnia can help reduce overall suicide risk and symptoms of other mental health conditions (e.g., depression, PTSD, anxiety). Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for Insomnia (CBT-I) is one of the most efficacious treatments for insomnia; however, access to CBT-I is severely limited by a lack of trained clinicians. Several Rocky Mountain MIRECC investigators have conducted research to expand access to CBT-I by delivering the treatment in new ways. Learn more about promising new approaches to insomnia treatment in the context of suicide prevention from the following resources.
Our clinical intervention research is primarily within the Clinical Research phase of the translational model. Visit the translational model page to learn more about this and other phases in the model.
Explore other research focus areas
Explore publications from Rocky Mountain MIRECC-affiliated research listed in the following documents. [PDF opens in new tab/window]
- Fiscal Year 2023 (October 2022-September 2023)
- Fiscal Year 2022 (October 2021-September 2022)
- Fiscal Year 2021 (October 2020-September 2021)
- Fiscal Year 2020 (October 2019-September 2020)
- Fiscal Year 2019 (October 2018-September 2019)
- Fiscal Year 2018 (October 2017-September 2018)
- Fiscal Year 2017 (October 2016-September 2017)
- Fiscal Year 2016 (October 2015-September 2016)
- Fiscal Year 2015 (October 2014-September 2015)
- Fiscal Year 2014 (October 2013-September 2014)
- Fiscal Year 2013 (October 2012-September 2013)
- Fiscal Year 2012 (October 2011-September 2012)
- Fiscal Year 2011 (October 2010-September 2011)
- Fiscal Year 2010 (October 2009-September 2010)
Quick Links to Study Websites
- VA Patient Safety Center of Inquiry - Suicide Prevention Collaborative (PSCI-SPC)
- Home-Based Measurement of Circadian Timing in Veterans with Traumatic Brain Injury and Insomnia (Home Circadian)
- Promoting mental health wellness and safety among Veteran firearm owners (FFAST)
- Assessing Social & Community Environments with National Data (ASCEND)
- Mental Healthcare Experiences of Women and Men Veterans Using and Not Using VA Healthcare
- Suicide Risk and Prevention among Asian American and Pacific Islander Veterans
- Perspectives on Preventing Firearm-Inflicted Suicide among Women Veterans
- Reproductive Health Care Settings for Upstream Suicide Prevention among Women Veterans
- Military and Veteran Microbiome: Consortium for Research and Education (MvM CoRE)
- Facilitating Assessment of At-Risk Sailors using Technology (FAAST)
- Advancing Suicide Prevention for Underserved Veterans (ASPIRE) Lab
Last Updated 14 December 2021