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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
March 2017

Dr. Jacqueline Cleland and a dedicated group of Veterans and staff at the Martinsburg VAMC have created a powerful set of recovery stories and photographic portraits grounded in the personal meanings of Veterans’ tattoos. Funding from the VISN-5 MIRECC Small Grants Program for Recovery Innovations was combined with significant in-kind contributions from Martinsburg to create this exhibit. The multi-media collection includes a booklet titled Warriors, Tattoos, and the Stories they Tell, highlighting each of the featured Veterans and their stories. Dr. Cleland remarked, “Our hope is that this Veteran inspired project will foster curiosity, encourage dialog, and broaden understanding with its distinctly visual display of personal narratives.” The photos will be on display at multiple VA sites within VISN 5 in coming months.

Advanced Fellowship in Mental Illness Research and Treatment
Announcement of Openings– March 2017

There are 2 openings for postdoctoral training in clinical research in serious mental illness. We provide mentored research training in psychosocial treatment development; individual, group, family, and community interventions; health services and implementation research; and in psychopharmacology. Fellows spend approximately 65% of their time in research-related activities, 25% of their time in clinical service and training activities, and 10% of their time in didactic and administrative activities. This two-year, full-time program trains fellows to develop independent research and become leading clinical researchers in the area of serious mental illness, treatment development, and implementation of recovery-oriented services. Fellows have been highly successful in obtaining VA Career Development Award funding; with three VA CDAs awarded in the past two years. More information can be found on the national MIRECC website, and at Potential applicants are encouraged to contact Dr. Melanie Bennett at for more information and to discuss details of the opportunities available for fellows.

Featured Educational Products

Social Skills Training Resources

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.

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

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

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

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.