Rocky Mountain MIRECC - Kelly A. Soberay MA - MIRECC / CoE
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Rocky Mountain MIRECC - Kelly A. Soberay MA

Rocky Mountain MIRECC for Veteran Suicide Prevention

Updated: 4 November 2019

Biography

Kelly A. Soberay MA
Kelly A. SoberayTitle: Project Coordinator
Contact:
303.329.4408 ext. 302
Kelly.Soberay@va.gov
 
Kelly Soberay is a coordinator for suicide prevention research with the Rocky Mountain MIRECC in Denver, Colorado. She has been with MIRECC since 2010, supporting the Military Suicide Research Consortium on the management of its 21 funded research grants and 4 postdoctoral pilot projects. She also serves as Education and Research Coordinator for the Rocky Mountain MIRECC Education Core.
 
Kelly completed her undergraduate degree in Psychology and Criminal Justice at the University of Dayton in 2005. At that time she joined AmeriCorps and served a year with Father Flanagan’s Boys Town, then accepted a position with Kids House of Seminole Children’s Advocacy Center as Director of Training and Events. She returned to school and earned a Master’s in Counseling Psychology at the University of Denver in 2010. During this time, she interned at East High School within the Denver Public School District and at the Denver County Jail. After the completion of her MA and her internship, Kelly continued to see individual therapy clients at the Denver County Jail and a private practice to earn her license in professional counseling.
 
Kelly is particularly interested in the dissemination and implementation of innovative care to military and Veteran populations. She provides support to several MIRECC research projects and educational efforts that can be found on our website.
 
What made you choose the Rocky Mountain MIRECC: The opportunity to serve Veterans and produce new scientific knowledge to support their health and well-being.
 
What do you like most about working at the VA: Interacting with the Veterans.
 
Favorite Colorado Activity: Backpacking and skiing in the Rockies.
 
Favorite quote: “If you come to a fork in the road, take it.” – Yogi Berra

Publications

Monteith, L. L., Gerber, H. R., Brownstone, L. M., Soberay, K. A., & Bahraini, N. H. (2018). The phenomenology of military sexual trauma among male veterans. Psychology of Men & Masculinity. Advance online publication. http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/men0000153
Military sexual trauma (MST) has been studied extensively in women; however, knowledge regarding the ways in which men are affected by MST remains limited. The present study used a phenomenological approach to describe the lived experiences of men exposed to MST. Participants were 18 male veterans who experienced MST and completed semistructured qualitative interviews. Thematic analysis (Braun & Clarke, 2006) was used to identify themes. Participants described disruptions to their sense of masculinity and questioned their sexuality following MST. They described altered attitudes, beliefs, and behaviors to prevent revictimization, in addition to avoidant coping (e.g., substance use). Men described secrecy regarding MST, which was perceived to be deleterious over time. Disclosure of MST and the response to disclosure appeared to be pivotal: Negative reactions to disclosure were described as common and harmful; supportive reactions, though rare, seemed to facilitate recovery. Men expressed experiencing a sense of personal and institutional betrayal, in addition to becoming distrustful, hypervigilant, and disillusioned after experiencing MST. Struggles with intimacy, isolation, and relationship difficulties also ensued. These phenomenological findings illuminate the complex and varied ways in which male veterans appear to experience MST and its sequelae. Results highlight several potential avenues for further research and provide guidance for how clinicians and institutions can support male survivors of MST in their recovery. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2018 APA, all rights reserved)
Monteith, L. L., Brownstone, L. M., Gerber, H. R., Soberay, K. A., & Bahraini, N. B. (2018). Understanding suicidal self-directed violence among men exposed to military sexual trauma: An ecological framework. Psychology of Men and Masculinity. dx.doi.org/10.1037/men0000141
Men who experience military sexual trauma (MST) are at increased risk for dying by suicide, yet efforts to explain this have been limited. The present study aimed to describe men’s perceptions of the impact of MST on their lives, in relation to their subsequent experiences with suicidal ideation and attempt. Semistructured interviews were conducted with 18 male veterans who experienced MST. Interview transcripts were analyzed through thematic analysis, using an abductive approach that included an ecological framework to organize results. Themes were examined in relation to post-MST suicidal ideation, suicide attempt, or neither, using a modified version of the Self-Injurious Thoughts and Behaviors Interview. Themes were noted at each ecological level. Individual-level themes included emotions (powerlessness and guardedness), coping (isolation, risky behaviors, substance use, and secrecy), and beliefs (masculinity and self-blame). Themes relating to post-MST suicidality at the other levels included actual sexual assault (MST characteristics); negative or supportive reactions from others (microsystem); institutional and cultural influences (meso-/exosystem); perceptions of victim blaming, sexualized environments, and policy (macrosystem); and childhood abuse, combat-related experiences, and homelessness (chronosystem). Our findings suggest a complex, multifaceted etiology of men’s suicidal ideation and suicide attempts following MST. Ecological perspectives that consider processes at interpersonal, institutional, and cultural levels may be particularly informative for enhancing suicide prevention efforts for men who have experienced MST. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2018 APA, all rights reserved)
Monteith, L.L., Bahraini, N.B., Matarazzo, B.B., Gerber, H., Soberay, K.A., & Forster, J.E. (2016). The Influence of Gender on Suicidal Ideation following Military Sexual Trauma among Veterans in the Veterans Health Administration. Psychiatry Research, July, doi:10.1016/j.psychres.2016.07.036
No studies have examined whether military sexual trauma, as measured and defined within the Veterans Health Administration (VHA), is associated with suicidal ideation among Veterans in VHA care, when taking prior suicide attempts into account. Research regarding the role of gender in this association is also limited. The present study examined: (1) whether military sexual trauma was associated with the presence of past-week suicidal ideation among 354 Veterans in VHA (310 men, 44 women); (2) whether gender moderated the association between military sexual trauma and suicidal ideation. Information regarding military sexual trauma, suicidal ideation, suicide attempt, and psychiatric diagnoses was obtained from self-report instruments and medical records. Adjusting for age, gender, combat, posttraumatic stress disorder, depressive disorders, negative affect, and lifetime suicide attempt, Veterans with military sexual trauma were significantly more likely to report suicidal ideation, compared to Veterans without military sexual trauma. Furthermore, the association between military sexual trauma and suicidal ideation was stronger for men compared to women. These results contribute to a growing literature identifying military sexual trauma as a risk factor for suicidal thoughts and behaviors among Veterans in VHA care and emphasize the importance of screening for suicidal ideation among survivors of military sexual trauma.
 
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