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About VISN 20 MIRECC

About VISN 20 MIRECC

Northwest Mental Illness Research, Education and Clinical Center locations

The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Veterans Integrated Services Network (VISN 20) Northwest Mental Illness Research, Education, and Clinical Center (NW MIRECC), began with the many Veterans and Servicemembers who served their country and then found their lives unsettled by flashbacks, nightmares, thinking difficulties, and other mental health concerns. VA's NW MIRECC serves the Pacific Northwest to improve the mental health and well-being of Veterans through research and dissemination of information to providers both within the VA and the general public.  

The mission of NW MIRECC is to improve the quality of life and function of Veterans by developing, evaluating and promoting the implementation of effective treatments for military PTSD and its complex comorbidities. These PTSD comorbidities include the behavioral consequences of mild traumatic brain injury (mTBI), substance use disorders, chronic pain, and dementia. This important work spans three time zones and is only possible through productive collaborations with local and national academic, government, industry, military, and community partners.

VISN 20 MIRECC Partnerships

NW MIRECC applies modern genetic, neurologic and clinical trial methodology to the discovery and development of new and more effective treatments for major and often treatment resistant mental disorders afflicting Veterans and the active-duty combat personnel who will become Veterans. As part of the NW MIRECC mission to enhance access to mental health expertise, the NW MIRECC collaborates and consults with other MIRECCs and Centers of Excellence, as well as with other VA, DoD, Federal, State departments of Veterans Affairs, community agencies, and experts. 

For Washington, the academic affiliate and primary research center for VA Puget Sound Health Care System is University of Washington. For Oregon, the academic affiliate and research center for VA Portland Heath Care System is Oregon Health and Science University.

Vet Centers throughout VISN 20 are community-based counseling centers that provide a wide range of social and psychological services, including professional readjustment counseling to eligible Veterans, active-duty Army, Navy, Marine Corps, Coast Guard, Air Force, and Space Force service members, including National Guard and Reserve components, and their families. 

Research and Clinical Programs

VA ranks as one of the nation's leaders in health research. NW MIRECC research studies significantly contribute to advancements in our understanding of medical problems that lead to health improvements for Veterans and civilians alike. Research studies at NW MIRECC are currently enrolling Military Veterans, First Responders, Health Care workers, and Civilians in Seattle, Washington. NW MIRECC brings together complementary research, education, and clinical programs from the VA Puget Sound Health Care System (VAPSHCS) and the VA Portland Health Care System (VAPORHCS). Most notably, staff at the NW MIRECC pioneered the use of the blood pressure medication prazosin to treat trauma-related nightmares, one of the most common symptoms of military PTSD. Due in part to our educational outreach efforts, this medication is now prescribed to over 100,000 Veterans and active-duty Servicemembers, and we continue to investigate its usefulness for other psychiatric conditions that are common in Veterans.

NW MIRECC studies are conducted through clinical research and through translational research wherein teams of clinicians and scientists work side-by-side to characterize and model key features of clinical problems and then translate the findings from scientific theory or animal models into practical applications for Veterans. NW MIRECC now provides protected research time, developmental study support, and new resources to a diverse, multidisciplinary cadre of biostatisticians, endocrinologists, geneticists, molecular biologists, neurologists, neuropsychologists, psychiatrists, radiologists, educators, clinicians, young investigators, and support staff, all of whom work together to deliver world-class, cutting-edge science, education, and clinical care to Veterans and health professionals.

Education

NW MIRECC improves the health and well-being of Veterans by developing, evaluating, and disseminating novel and effective treatments. The collaborative approach to mental health research, education and treatment has had a profound impact on the lives of Veterans. In this way, MIRECC Presents empowers mental health providers to integrate cutting-edge treatments and timely research into their daily clinical practices, thereby raising the quality of care for Veterans who experience mental health challenges. 

These twice monthly virtual conferences are designed to translate current scientific and clinical research into thoughtful and accessible information that can be used by clinicians to enhance their care of Veterans. MIRECC Presents webinars are designed for, but is not limited to, Physicians, Nurses, Psychologists, Social Workers and other professionals who support Veteran care.  

VA Clinicians at NW MIRECC

NW MIRECC clinicians are essential for the diagnosis and management of mental health conditions. They serve in mental health clinics as well as specialty clinics that provide a key space for the development and evaluation of new treatments for Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), mild traumatic brain injury (mTBI), substance use disorders (SUD), chronic pain, and dementia. NW MIRECC clinicians have particular expertise in the off-label use of the blood-pressure medication prazosin for Posttraumatic Stress Disorder. NW MIRECC specialty clinics also offer clinicians in-depth training in the diagnosis and management of mental health conditions

Postdoctoral Fellowship

The VA Advanced Psychology Postdoctoral Fellowship in Mental Illness Research and Treatment (MIRT) is a two-year postdoctoral training program. Over the course of the two-year program, fellows are trained in clinical and health systems research, advanced clinical care service delivery, and program administration in an interdisciplinary setting. The VA Portland Health Care System NW MIRECC Psychology Postdoctoral Fellowship site is linked electronically to other national MIRECC sites for didactic, academic, and research efforts.

The primary goal of the NW MIRECC Advanced Psychology Postdoctoral Fellowship program is to train and equip physicians, psychologists, and other allied health professionals with the knowledge and expertise to lead clinical research efforts that make lasting contributions in the lives of Veterans experiencing mental health challenges. In collaboration with their mentors, the Advanced Psychology Postdoctoral Fellows will develop and implement research projects, publish and present findings, write grants, and utilize the latest technology for educational activities and clinical service delivery. Psychology Postdoctoral Fellows devote 75% of their time to research and education activities and 25% to clinical training.

Mental Illness Consultation Program (MICON)

Occasionally Veterans face challenges that perplex their mental health providers at the VA. To assist providers with these more difficult cases, experts at the Northwest Mental Illness Research, Education and Clinical Center developed the MICON. In this program, Veterans Affairs clinicians may contact the NW MIRECC consultants with academic questions concerning a mental health topic or with clinical questions concerning unusual, complex, or difficult patient issues. A NW MIRECC investigator will return the provider's call or email within 48 hours and provide a free one-on-one consultation. MICON specializes in non-urgent psychiatric case consultation in Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), mild traumatic brain injury (mTBI), substance use disorders, chronic pain, dementia, and other areas in mental health.


VA VISN 20 consists of four states across three time zones; Alaska, Idaho, Oregon, and Washington. The primary research center located at VA Puget Sound Health Care System (VAPSHCS) is affiliated with University of Washington. VAPSHCS serves Veterans from a five-state area in the Pacific Northwest with two main divisions: American Lake and Seattle. Veterans in Washington are also served by VA Medical Centers in Spokane, Vancouver, and Walla Walla. In Washington, there are VA Community Based Outpatient Clinics (CBOC's) located in Bellevue, Bremerton, Chehalis, Edmunds, Everett, Federal Way, Mount Vernon, Olympia, Port Angeles, Puyallup, Richland, Renton, Silverdale, Seattle, Wenatchee, and Yakima. The research center located at VA Portland Heath Care System (VAPORHCS) is affiliated with Oregon Health and Science University. VAPORHCS serves Veterans from Oregon and Southwest Washington with two main divisions: Portland and Vancouver. Veterans in Oregon are also served by VA Medical Centers in Roseburg and White City. In Oregon, there are CBOC's located in Bend, Boardman, Brookings, Enterprise, Eugene, Fairview, Grants Pass, Hines, Hillsboro, Klamath Falls, LaGrande, Lincoln City, Newport, Portland, Salem, The Dalles, Warrenton, and West Linn. VA provides health care for Veterans from providers in your local community outside of VA. Veterans may be eligible to receive care from a community provider when VA cannot provide the care needed.

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VA Vet Center Logo Vet Centers in the VISN 20 Health Care Network are community-based counseling centers that provide a wide range of social and psychological services, including professional readjustment counseling to eligible Veterans, active-duty Army, Navy, Marine Corps, Coast Guard, Air Force, and Space Force service members, including National Guard and Reserve components, and their families. 1-877-927-8387 is a free, around the clock confidential call center where Veterans, service members and their families can talk about their military experience or any other issue they are facing in transitioning after military service or trauma and get connected to their nearest Vet Center.

Veterans Crisis Hotline 988 - If you are having a medical or mental health emergency, dial 911. If you are having thoughts of suicide, dial 988, then press 1 at the prompt to reach the Veterans Crisis Line

Veterans Crisis "988" - The Military Crisis Line is a free, confidential resource for all service members, including members of the National Guard and Reserve, and Veterans, even if they’re not enrolled in VA benefits or health care. Call 988 then Press 1 If you are a Veteran, service member, or any person concerned about one who is hard of hearing, you can connect with professional, caring VA responders through online chat and text message (838255). 

In Europe
Call 00800 1273 8255 or DSN 118

In Korea
Call 080-855-5118 or DSN 118

In Afghanistan
Call 00 1 800 273 8255 or DSN 111

In the Philippines
Call #MYVA or 02-8550-3888 and press 7

A Veteran overseas may contact the Veterans Crisis Line via the chat modality at VeteransCrisisLine.net/Chat. If the Veteran prefers a phone call, they can request this within the chat venue. For TTY users: Use your preferred relay service or dial 711 then 1-800-273-8255. Are you looking for clinical care or counseling? Assistance with benefits? No matter what you’re experiencing, we’re here to connect you with resources and support systems to help. The Veterans Crisis Line is free and confidential. When you call, chat, or text, a qualified responder will listen and help. You decide how much information to share. Support doesn't end with your conversation. Our responders can connect you with the resources you need.

Explore VA.gov

VA has a variety of mental health resources, information, treatment options, and more — all accessible to Veterans, Veterans’ supporters, and the general public. Explore the pages below to learn more about a specific mental health topic. Each of these pages includes resources, information on treatment options, and more.

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For Daniel, Don, and Jennifer, convenient video counseling made it easier to put their health first. Adjusting from military service to civilian life can be both exciting and challenging. Make the Connection

Dial 988 then press 1

Connect with the Veterans Crisis Line to reach caring, qualified responders with the Department of Veterans Affairs. The Veterans Crisis Line is free and confidential. Support doesn't end with your conversation. Our responders can connect you with the resources you need.

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