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VISN 5 MIRECC – Putting Recovery Into Practice

VA Capital Health Care Network - VISN 5 MIRECC logo

The mission of the VISN 5 MIRECC is to support and enhance the recovery and community functioning of Veterans with serious mental illness. Our integrated programs of research, education, and clinical training and consultation focus on the development, evaluation, and implementation of recovery-oriented evidence-based treatments and services for these Veterans.

MIRECC News Spotlight
December 2018

Investigators at the VISN5 MIRECC are on the move

VISN 5 MIRECC investigators have been presenting their work at different meetings throughout the fall.

In June, Dr. Alicia Lucksted presented a poster at the Psychiatric Rehabilitation Association’s 41st Annual Wellness and Recovery Summit in Denver on her qualitative analysis of interview data to understand how people with serious mental illness respond to and get impacted by stigma over their lives and what wisdom those experiences offer that might help others in similar circumstances. Recently, Dr. Lucksted also gave a presentation on Veterans, mental health, and stigma as part of the Pro Bono Counseling Project Military Program Workshop which was focused on Veterans mental health.
View poster. View slides.

In September, Dr. Letitia Travaglini and Lorrianne Kuykendall, MA presented a poster at the International Association for the Study of Pain, World Congress 2018 in Boston. The poster focused on results from a qualitative study examining chronic pain experiences and management among Veterans with bipolar disorder. The poster presenting findings on the relationships between chronic pain and mood symptoms; the degree to which pain and mood affect functioning; Veterans’ thoughts about the pain-mood connection and how it translates into treatment; and the way in which mental health stigma affects access to and receipt of pain management.
View poster.

Drs. Samantha Hack and Amy Drapalski

Drs. Samantha Hack and Amy Drapalski attended the 34th annual meeting of the International Society for Traumatic Stress Studies in Washington, DC. Dr. Hack presented a poster on her work exploring clinical behaviors that support patient-centered communication with recent Veterans with stress-related disorders.
View poster.
Dr. Drapalski presented a poster describing the work of her team piloting of an intervention to reduce internalized stigma in Veterans with PTSD.
View poster.

Drs. Amanda Peeples and Anjana Muralidharan presented their work at the annual scientific meeting of the Gerontological Society of America in Boston. Dr. Peeples presented a poster on her work studying barriers, facilitators, and preferences for mental health treatment engagement among Vietnam-era Veterans with PTSD and a delivered presentation on these Veterans’ conceptualizations of recovery.
View poster. View slides.
Dr. Muralidharan gave a presentation on the progress of her team in developing a peer coaching program to promote supervised fitness training for older Veterans with psychotic disorders.
View slides.

Dr. Peter Phalen presented a poster at the annual meeting of the Association for Behavioral and Cognitive Therapies in Washington DC on his work examining relationships among personal beliefs, experiences, and stigma toward individuals who hear voices. He and colleagues at Indiana University-Purdue University also presented their work on mortality following naloxone encounters with emergency medical services at the American Public Health Association’s 2018 Annual Meeting & Expo in San Diego.
View poster. View presentation abstract.

Contact any of these investigators with questions or for more information.

MIRECC News Spotlight
October 2018

Podcast: The Role of Pain Management in Recovery from Serious Mental Illness

SAMHSA Recovery to Practice

Presented in part by VISN5 MIRECC Fellow, Letitia Travaglini, PhD.

This 45 minute podcast is part of the Complex Clinical Decisions in Psychopharmacology Series from SAMHSA’s Recovery to Practice (RTP) Program. In the podcast, national experts discuss the current research and clinical practices around managing chronic pain in individuals with serious mental illness (SMI), and reinforce the need for person-centered and strengths-based approaches to help better manage pain and improve functioning and quality of life in individuals with SMI.

Additional Presenters: Jennifer Murphy, PhD; Robert McCarron, DO; Amber Guererro, LMFT. Discussant: Curley Bonds, MD.

Listen to the podcast.

Download a transcript of the podcast.

Featured Educational Products

Social Skills Training Resources

Social Skills Training workbook

Social Skills Training (SST) is a treatment procedure that has been developed to directly address social problem-solving skills deficits with the goal of enhancing social functioning. SST interventions are tailored to meet the real-life, current-day difficulties that affect the social experiences of each Veteran, but several common core elements are present regardless of which specific skills are being taught. In general, SST is a highly structured educational procedure that employs didactic instruction, breaking skills down into discrete steps, modeling, behavioral rehearsal (role-playing), and social reinforcement. Learn more.

SMI in CLC: Staff Training Toolkit

serious mental illness (SMI) who receive services in VA Community Living Centers

Older Veterans with serious mental illness (SMI) who receive services in VA Community Living Centers (CLCs, or VA Nursing Homes) often have complex care needs. Dr. Anjana Muralidharan, investigator at the VISN 5 MIRECC, took part in a workgroup to consider the needs of these Veterans and the teams who care for them. She took the lead in compiling a toolkit of resources that CLC mental health professionals could use to support CLC teams in providing care to these residents. The materials build basic knowledge and address stigma regarding care of residents with SMI. The toolkit was developed for CLCs – but could be useful for any VHA staff who provide care to Veterans with SMI. Check them out!

Shared Decision-Making for Family Involvement in Treatment (SDM-FIT)

Shared Decision-Making for Family Involvement in Treatment

Involvement of family in a Veteran’s mental health treatment can improve family functioning and effectively mobilize the family’s social and emotional resources in support of the Veteran. The SDM-FIT protocol is a tool for VA mental health providers to facilitate collaborative discussion with Veterans regarding family involvement in treatment. Topics discussed include benefits of, concerns about, and preferences for family involvement. The protocol is designed to facilitate a 30-minute conversation between any mental health provider and Veteran receiving mental health treatment. Download Manual

EASE-ing Self-Stigma Resources

EASE-ing Self-Stigma Resources

Self-Stigma is the harm caused when people start to define themselves by the stereotypes they are exposed to. It interferes greatly with wellness, recovery and treatment. EASE is a 90 minute program for all staff in practical ways you can help people you serve reduce or avoid the effects of self-stigma. Learn more.


Ending Self Stigma (ESS) Resources and Manual

Ending Self Stigma (ESS) Resources and Manual

ESS was developed by a team from the VISN-5 MIRECC and the University of Maryland School of Medicine Department of Psychiatry to translate research on reducing the harmful effects of mental illness stigmatization into practical strategies that people can use. The above link will take you to further details and program materials. Learn more.