News

  • Prevention and Intervention: Suicide
    I’m Good. But are you ready to listen? (Veterans Health Administration (VHA))

    This article is the final installment in a three-part series from the Defense Centers of Excellence for Psychological Health and Traumatic Brain Injury (DCoE) on helping the loved ones of service members identify the signs of brain injury and mental health issues.

    Everyone can benefit from honest conversations about mental health and suicide. Just one conversation may save someone’s life. DCoE is dedicated to suicide prevention efforts, and connecting the military community to the best resources available.

  • Providers: Learn Basic Steps to Assess Suicide Risk of Service Members
    By following basic steps for suicide risk assessment, providers can mitigate risk of overdose for patients starting opioid therapy
    Graphic courtesy of Deployment Health Clinical Center

    A recent Deployment Health Clinical Center (DHCC) Clinician’s Corner blog highlighted what providers need to know to complete a comprehensive suicide risk assessment. Dr. Jennifer Tucker, a clinical psychologist at DHCC, discussed the specific questions providers should ask, what information to gather from the patient, and how to evaluate common risk and protective factors.

    The increasing focus on stemming the tide of the opioid epidemic in the U.S. has highlighted the risk for opioid overdose in individuals who are or become suicidal while taking opioids. In order to mitigate overdose risk, the 2017 VA/DoD Clinical Practice Guideline for Opioid Therapy for Chronic Pain  advises prescribers and other clinicians working with opioids to assess their patients for suicide risk before initiating long-term opioid therapy as well as when continuing treatment.

  • Suicide Prevention Resources: Read Them, Share Them
    Two hands coupled at the wrist with the words - Be there, your actions could save a life.
    Graphic courtesy of Military Health System

    September is recognized as Suicide Prevention Awareness Month in the Defense Department, and also in mental health communities worldwide. At the Defense Centers of Excellence for Psychological Health and Traumatic Brain Injury (DCoE) our mission is to bring the military community resources on psychological health and traumatic brain injury prevention and treatment, which ultimately helps in the battle against suicide.

    We know that one of the keys to suicide prevention is getting the right resources to the right people at the right time. We rounded up some must-bookmark suicide prevention resources for everyone within the military community – service members, veterans, providers, family members, caregivers and friends. Please take a look and if you find any of them helpful, please share with others.

     

  • Clinical Guidelines for Suicide Prevention

    Suicide is a significant problem for the Defense Department. For providers, an essential piece of suicide prevention is a proven, step-by-step approach to treating potentially suicidal patients. A recent webinar presented by the Defense Centers of Excellence for Psychological Health and Traumatic Brain Injury highlighted how the military constantly updates its suicide clinical practice guidelines.

    Eric Rodgers, director of the evidence-based practice program at the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), talked about the standards and procedures for updating these guidelines.

    Suicide clinical practice guidelines undergo review by evidence-based practice workgroups. Workgroups include representatives from VA and the Defense Department, as well as individuals from multiple disciplines. They incorporate patient input and identify how new guidelines will affect treatment outcomes. The groups which oversee the suicide guidelines include members specifically chosen to address the subject of suicide.

    Guidelines often need multiple reviews before approval. In some cases they may not meet standards for approval at all.

  • DCoE Director: Honing our Efforts to Reduce Suicide – a Public Health Scourge
    Photo courtesy of DCoE

    This article by Capt. Mike Colston, director of the Defense Centers of Excellence for Psychological Health and Traumatic Brain Injury, is reposted from the Military Health System in recognition of Suicide Prevention Awareness Month.

    Suicide Prevention Awareness Month is a national observance during the month of September, but suicide prevention is a priority for the Department of Defense (DoD) every day of the year. Suicide is a pressing public health issue. Suicide rates have increased alarmingly in the U.S. over the past two decades. The Defense Health Agency (DHA) will lead in preventing suicide through three lines of action: fostering research, translating clinical knowledge to the field and informing policy.

    Research

    The evidence base for suicide prevention remains thin. Research efforts such as the “Study to Assess Risk and Resilience in Service members Longitudinal Project” (STARRS-LP) and protocols under the cognizance of the Military Suicide Research Consortium are producing slow but hard-won gains in the science of suicidology.

  • Military Comic Author Talks About New Book, How it Helps Vets
    Terminal Lance

    Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not reflect the official policy or position of Defense Centers of Excellence for Psychological Health and Traumatic Brain Injury. The “Terminal Lance” series does contain foul language; adult discretion advised.

    Former Marine Maximilian Uriarte began self-publishing his irreverent and often not-safe-for-work online comic strip on life in the Marine Corps infantry, “Terminal Lance,” in 2010. Uriarte’s sharp wit strikes a chord with service members of every branch by highlighting the trials, idiosyncrasies and absurdities of military life.

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